By Ene Asuquo
In it avowed aim to reposition tourism in the state, Cross River State Tourism Bureau has announced a Public-Private Partnership plan, aimed at reigniting the tourism sector, fostering private sector engagement, and reaffirming the commitment to making Cross River State a premier tourist destination.
Making the disclosure to journalists in Calabar in a press briefing, The Managing Director, Cross River State Tourism Bureau, Mr Ojoi Ekpenyong said the Bureau, under his watch believes that by focusing on a short- term initiatives and low-hanging fruits, it can not only reinvigorate the tourism sector but also strengthen partnerships with the private sector.
Mr Ekpenyong maintained that partnership with tour operators and travel agencies would be forged to include Cross River State in their tour packages, with incentives for agents who bring in tourists.
“This comprehensive plan underscores our commitment to responsible and sustainable tourism practices, ultimately positioning Cross River State as a premier destination for tourists from around the world”.
“I am dedicated to engaging the private sector and regaining their trust through a series of strategic initiatives designed to yield quick and tangible results”.
“We will initiate dialogues with key private sector stakeholders, including hoteliers, tour operators, and restaurant owners, to understand their concerns and ideas, he said.
Outlining a comprehensive plan for the Bureau, he said, “a renewed focus on promoting and enhancing existing tourism attractions across the state will be a central component of the plan.
“Investment promotion forums and conferences will be organised to attract private sector investment in tourism infrastructure and services.
“We will immediately commence the regulation, licensing and grading of all
tourism establishments in the state. This will also ensure that our tourism
facilities are visitor ready for the Festival/Carnival.
“New or revamped tourism information centers will be strategically located to provide comprehensive information about the state’s attractions, accommodations, and activities.
In addition, he said, “Local influencers and celebrities will be appointed as tourism ambassadors to promote Cross River State.
“The Bureau will provide training programs focusing on enhancing service quality and sustainable tourism practices in partnership with the private sector.
“We will partner Carnival Calabar and other local festivals to optimise them as focal points for tourism growth, with private sector involvement to enhance these events.
“Short-term marketing campaigns targeting regional and national tourists will be launched, featuring special promotions and discounts and a feedback system will be established to ensure continuous improvements
based on tourists’ experiences and suggestions, he maintained.
The MD commended the governor, Sen Prince Bassey Otu, for giving him the privilege to lead the bureau and contribute his quota to the tourism ecosystem of the state.