BUILDING A TOURIST MECCA: Why The City Of Calabar Always Win The Hosting Right

The city of Calabar will always be selected to host any major football tournament seeded to Nigeria. Whether it’s FIFA world cup, African Cup of Nations, Commonwealth games or All African  games, Calabar will be   selected ahead of major cities like Aba, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Ibadan, Kano, which has top premiership clubs or even Lagos, which has large capacity stadia and lots of active football consumers. I’ll tell you why. Cross River as a state is gradually building a “tourist Mecca.”

Stadium and Hotels: Although, the UJ Eusene sports center has only 18, 000 capacity stadium, but the stadium has ultra modern facilities – well maintained turf, medical center and media outside broadcast equipment.

Calabar city can comfortably host one million visitors. It has about 10 standard hotels – the five star, Calabar hotel, The Metropolitan hotel and Princess bed hotel at Murtala Mohammed way, Paradise city hotel at Atekong drive, Mirage hotel at MCC road, Chinese Restaurant and motel at Effanakaa road. Then, Government guest house at Mariam road, Nigeria hotel and University of Calabar hotel at Atim Layout – the visitors should have a very conducive place to stay.

Landscape and Transportation: Calabar is regarded as Canaan city with beautiful scenery, trees planted along the streets that give the landscape a rich lush greenish outlook. And you know what? Calabar has won several awards as the cleanest city in Nigeria.

A good road network and free flowing traffic, though predominantly motorbikes, which are used for transportation. Never the less, you could still get taxi so easy. There are also government subsidized mass transit buses, so transportation is not a problem at all. There is Calabar airport just at the out sketch of the town as well as a seaport.

Tourist Attractions: Calabar has lots of beaches by the creeks and just few miles outside the city, you’ll find Obudu ranch, a stretch of over 50 hectares’ of land, so good for golf and acclimatization of football players. Then, Tinapa resort, mostly referred to as the 8th wonder of the world, will hold any visitor spellbound. If you love animals and want to see them in their natural state, then you may visit Calabar Zoo and the Zoo garden hotel for a treat.

The People:  What will actually catch your attention are the people and their passion for football. It’s always like public holidays whenever a major game or tournament is going on in the city. The stadium is usually filled to capacity with lots of overflows at various viewing centers across the city.

Yet, the most significant thing you may observe is the crowd is so friendly and non violent. Calabar people have the culture of protecting visitors and making sure their stay in the city is most memorable. Truly, its hospitality you could hardly find anywhere else in Nigeria.

Hosting Experience: Calabar is well experience when it comes to hosting international guests. The city hosts the largest street party in Africa, “The Calabar Christmas Carnival,” that attracts tourists from all over the world. It’s a week non-stop street jam that give guests such a wow experience they will never forget in hurry.

The city has hosted 1999 FIFA WORLD YOUTH CHAMPIONSHIP, 2003 All African Games, 2008 African Nations Cup, 2009 FIFA U17 World cup

Calabar also hosts a yearly international trade fair that attracts numerous multi-nationals and trade partners from all over the world.

The Vision:  The government of Cross River has the vision to expand the tourist attractions in the state. And the state governor’s wife, Obioma Imoke, who has been very magnanimous behind the vision of building a tourist Mecca, has said that the state has it on the drawing board to build a 100, 000 capacity stadium, to be the largest and finest dome in Africa. Well, the corporate organizations – banks, Insurance companies and real estate developers – have been very supportive of the laudable vision.

I guess the real reason Calabar will always win the hosting right is the federal government will always want to showcase the most beautiful city in the country to her visitors, that’s why you cannot take it away from them.

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