During the 2nd Cross River State Tourism Roundtable, Rev. Eyoanwan Bassey Otu, the wife of the state governor, emphasized the need to integrate Efik Culture and hospitality into the state’s tourism activities. In her lead paper, presented by Ntufam Professor Raphael Offiong, she stressed the importance of making Efik culture a day-to-day aspect rather than confining it to events like the carnival.
Rev. Otu urged the establishment of designated places where locals and visitors alike can experience the richness of Efik hospitality beyond festive seasons.
The President of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, Nkereuwem Onung, applauded the Cross River State government for its efforts to revive the tourism sector. Onung suggested the addition of Arts and Culture as a directorate with a designated director-general within the existing Tourism Bureau. This strategic move, he believes, would enhance alignment of policies, data collection, and key performance indicators, ensuring sustained development in the sector.
Abubakar Ewa, the State Commissioner of Tourism, affirmed the government’s commitment to leveraging tourism for socio-economic development. He highlighted the intention to return to tourism as a pivotal force for the state’s progress. The Managing Director of the Cross River State Tourism Bureau, Prince Ojoi Ekpenyong, expressed optimism for the sector’s future, noting the administration’s proactive measures to create an enabling environment for tourism to flourish.
Professor Bassey Esu, the State Chairman of the Institute Of Tourism Professionals of Nigeria (ITPN), emphasized the integral role of hospitality in defining a destination. He underscored the importance of emotional engagement from service providers at every stage of the tourist experience.
The ITPN aims to collaborate with stakeholders to sustain the progress made in tourism and contribute to shaping the state’s desired destination identity.