Cross River State Government Awards ₦10 million Grant To Hotel Owners
By: Eme Offiong, Calabar
The government of Cross River State in southern Nigeria has disbursed a ten million naira grant to the management of selected hotels in Calabar, the state capital.
The Managing Director of the Cross River State Tourism Bureau, Mr. Ojoi Ekpenyong, who disbursed the cash on behalf of the government, said that the essence of the grant was to support players in the hospitality industry upgrade their facilities.
Ekpenyong described the industry as pivotal to the development of tourism, which he said was the mainstay of the Cross River economy and appreciated Governor Bassey Otu for the first of its kind initiative in recent times.
According to him, “the initiative named ‘Empowering Hotels, Investing in Excellence’ is a testament to our unwavering commitment to sustainable tourism and our belief in the potential of our local businesses.”
The Managing Director noted that the grant would be disbursed in tranches of One million naira (₦1,000,000.00) to ten selected hotels in Calabar for “their efforts to remain up to date with licensing requirements and potential for remarkable growth.
“We acknowledge that the tourism industry thrives when our hospitality partners are thriving. It is in this spirit that we embark on this journey of empowerment, knowing that by investing in our hotels, we invest in the very essence of our tourism potential,” he noted.
Ekpenyong further disclosed that the gesture would be replicated across the state “beginning from the south, next will be central and then to the north”, stressing “government has put in place a monitoring mechanism to ensure that the grant is utilised in line with the criteria and industry standard.”
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Tourism and Culture, Mr. Abubakar Ewa advised the beneficiary to judiciously utilize the funds to upgrade their facilities with standard beddings, electric power supply and general surroundings.
He assured that the government would continue to explore other avenues to assist operators of hospitality centres across the state.
Similarly, the Special Adviser to the Governor on General Duties, Mr. Ekpenyong Akiba expressed appreciation to the governor for adhering to the People First agenda by assisting local businesses stay afloat despite Cross River’s lean resources.
He assured, “I commend the governor for keeping to his campaign promises. He has shown that he is an exceptional political leader. He promised to revamp the tourism industry and for this to be achieved, shelter is important to our tourism.
“In a couple of days, Cross River will be hosting the world to our festival and carnivals. When people come around they will need accommodation, which takes us to the standards of our hotels. Improving standards is why the grant has been given. Ten may not be much from the more than 300 hotels in the state, but it is a starting point,” he stated.
He further assured that the government was upgrading security, creating the ambience of cleanliness and build the confidence of residents and offer visitors and tourists the best hospitality experience.
Speaking, the secretary of beneficiary selection committee, Mr. Ray Murphy said that the ten hotels were carefully chosen to receive the grants in line with laid down criteria.
Murphy commended the governor for fulfilling his promise to those in the hospitality industry, urging that further assistance be given to other hotels in the face of economic realities.
Some of the beneficiaries expressed gratitude to Governor Otu for the grant, which they promised would be utilised to upgrade power and other necessities before Christmas and carnival festivities commence.
The ceremony was attended by stakeholders in the tourism industry including the Chairman of the Cross River State Carnival Commission, Mr. Gabe Onah.