Cross River State Government, on Tuesday, gave N1 million grant each to 10 hotels in Calabar as part of its efforts to boost tourism in the state.
“The 10 exceptional hotels were carefully selected based on their commendable efforts in staying up-to-date with licensing requirements and their potential for remarkable growth.
“The recognition is not merely a financial grant.
“It is a vote of confidence in their commitment to excellence, service quality, and the advancement of the state’s tourism landscape,’’ Ojoi Ekpenyong, managing director, Cross River Tourism Bureau, said at the Cross River Tourism Grant Award Presentation.
He said the effort was also aimed at ensuring that hotels in the state were in good shape.
The 10 hotels that got the grants would be closely monitored in line with the grant criteria and the minimum requirements for industry standards, he added.
Mr Ekpenyong said the award, which was starting with hotels in the Southern Senatorial District of the state, would continue in the first quarter of 2024 in the Central Senatorial District, and then move to the Northern District in the third quarter before returning to the south before the 2024 Calabar Carnival.
“We acknowledge that the tourism industry thrives when our hospitality partners are thriving.
“It is in this spirit that we embarked on this journey of empowerment, knowing that by investing in our hotels, we invest in the very essence of our tourism potential,’’ he said.
In his remarks, the state Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Abubakar Ewa, noted that the hospitality industry in Cross River suffered stagnation in the last few years and needed to be revived.
Mr Ewa appealed to the benefitting hotels to use the grants judiciously, noting that Cross River would move from strength to strength with support from the hospitality industry.
Responding, the Chairperson, Cross River chapter of Hoteliers Association of Nigeria, Charles Ogar, said it was the first time such gesture was extended to hoteliers in the state.
He advised the 10 benefiting hotels to use the grant judiciously as they had been chosen out of 360 hotels in the state.
A beneficiary of the grant and Chief Executive Officer of his Calabar-based hotel, Ettete Samson, expressed appreciation to the state government for the grant.
He said, however, that more needed to be done to boost tourism in Cross River, particularly in the area of power supply, low patronage and the dearth of flights into Calabar.
The grants came as kickers for the commencement of the 2023 Calabar Carnival, the first under the administration of Governor Bassey Otu.
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