|Eric Anderson, Commissioner for Tourism Development, Cross River State|
26 December 2018
An Open Letter to the Honourable Commissioner for Tourism Development in Cross River State, Mr Eric Anderson
Compliments of the Season Sir. We ain’t friends on social media, but, we’ve met on several occasions —I guess you’ll remember my interviewing you at your office few months back this year in company with publisher Ukorebi Esien.
I paid a visit to the Christmas Village yesterday, this was my second time: the first was on the first week of opening of the facility (I had a stint there), yesterday saw me taking relatively longer time than the previous visit.
It was during the second visit that I took out time to conduct a careful study of the environment, inspecting the buzz of activity as well as enterprises ongoing there, and one question kept caressing my mind. When I couldn’t contain it any longer, I blurted it out to my friends-in-company: the User Experience (UX) maestro Oseuno Inspire Justus and Pastor Fortune Emmanuel —’Why can’t we sustain this tempo of activity in the Christmas Village or Calabar, month in, month out?’
Initially, I had thought of addressing this letter to my brother and friend Joseph Lashakara Edet the SSA to the Governor of Cross River state on Entrepreneurship and Job Placement in my ‘The SSA and his Critic’ series(an aspect of my Diary of an African Blogger), but, thought otherwise this morning for obvious reasons —it’s more of your brief than his.
It should be stressed that it is very important we think about this question particularly considering the viable economy this initiative can constitute to an acclaimed tourism state: government provide shopping spaces for a fee which is revenue, these entrepreneurs in turn provide services/products for consumption to the public —the value chain is massive! So, to rephrase my question: why don’t we have a Christmas Village every December and a ‘Christmas-type Village’ every other months of the year?
During the interlocution between the trio (of us), we discovered that it is ACTIVITY that will sustain the tempo of visitors day in, day out, week in, week out, and month in, month out. By activity it’s meant, a series of events/ programmes bothering more on entertainment that will inspire the required buzz and constant visit and by implication: the revenue to the State through provision of services and products for consumption.
For instance, Cross River boast of exclusive, exquisite cuisines, so, why can’t we have a Food Festival in January where all the cultures/ethnicities in the state will showcase their best meals? I learnt from Justus that there’s Bole festival in Port Harcourt, we’d invite them and others from other states to come showcase.
Why can’t we have a Fabric Festival on February where the Efik will showcase the various strands of Oyo-oyo clothing styles? the other cultures/ethnicities in the 18 LGAs will brandish theirs ; we invite the Ibibio from Akwa Ibom to showcase theirs (I learnt it is different), and other other cultural groups in the 36 States of the Federation.
We can have an Entrepreneurship Festival in March etc where various brands will come showcase their brands, products and services to the general public lacing these with entertainment, etc. We can have a Music Festival in April; Cultural Festival in May; Craft Festival in June, Sports Festival in July, Fish Festival/Boat Regatta in August, Religions Festival in September, and another in October and the list continues on end until November!?
I can go and on, on end! I am asking you to give this thought, please. Merry Christmas and a happy New year in advance sir.
Is a blogger & social commentator
25th December 2018