by crossriverwatch admin
The Managing Director Cross River State Tourism Bureau, Mr. Michael Williams has said that Aero Contractors will begin test flights to the Obudu Airstrip before the end of 2014.
The Jamaica born technocrat revealed that some time ago the bureau purchased an aircraft and is been refurbished by Aero and when it’s finished it will be brought to operation by Aero and commercial flights will resume at the Bebi Air strip in Obudu.
The MD who said he cannot be specific on when regular commercial flights will resume again to the ranch resort however assured that the Airstrip has been fully rehabilitated and Test Landing equipments are also being fitted in readiness for full operations.
He barred his mind in an exclusive interview with CrossRiverWatch in his office at Okoi Arikpo House, Calabar where he identified funding as the major peril of the bureau adding that the Tinapa Business resort still lacks traffic.
Mr. William said the dearth of traffic to the free trade zone is what has informed the construction of the Summit Hill which is a cluster of projects comprising the Calabar International Conference Center, CICC, Housing Estate, International Hospital, Gulf Course etc located close to Tinapa by the state government, in an effort to drive traffic to the resort.
He said the bureau’s primary duty is to market Cross River State as a tourism destination and to also to serve as the regulator of the destination business. He maintained that they are there to make sure tourism businessmen operate within the ambit of minimum acceptable standards to give value to the public. The MD revealed that regulating as their duty has been difficult for some time but hoped that his bureau will get more involved now with the endorsement of the new regulations for tourism by the executive council of the state.
Mr. Michael said: “You know we get complains from people leaving in a hotel and don’t enjoy their food which has to do with the quality of service they offer, so this enforcement will address that. This also means that some might not be able to meet the standard and may be forced to close but there are some that are sure to raise their game and when this is done we can achieve the standard where the services offered to guests whether they are from Lagos or any part of the world will meet regulatory standard”.
He enumerated some of the benefits of the news policy to include: “The broader tourism policy passed last week by the state executive council ensure that we have a coordinated approach towards tourism development in Cross River and is aimed at empowering the private sector so that government clearly is seen as the regulator and the private sector is seen as the driver of the tourism sector and part of it is that there will be incentives to get the private sector to be involved”.
Recently, the Tourism Bureau just trained some drivers which the bureau’s Managing Director said is an act of helping to meet regulatory standards. His words “In regulating we discovered we would need to train people to meet the set standards, we are not saying meet the standards but are saying we would help you meet the standards and the training is going to be continues”.
Some time last year a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU was signed by the tourism bureau in collaboration with the organized private sector to stage the maiden edition of Calabar Marathon debute for Easter Monday but this he explained, could not see the light because of lack of sponsorship as at when due, “We had to postpone it because we wanted it to be purely a private sponsored event but we couldn’t get that”.
In realizing the six enchanting tourism attractions that will provide excitement and relaxation as stated in the bureau’s 2014 vision statement, he said they are about twelve months away from attaining that.
Mr. Williams further disclosed that they have started marketing the Calabar International Conference Center, CICC irrespective of the fact that the visibility of its completion is a bit far from sight “because most significant conferences or retreats hold on annual basis so if you are a conference planner when will I tell you about the center, is it when I open? It’s best now and we are even late if you understand the marketing structure; the CICC is not going to be government run but built and privately run”, he said.
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