Much more to come.
Much more to come.
"If You Build It- They Will Come."
I am Calabar, an historic seaport city and former slave trading post, strategically located on the Atlantic Coast near the Cameroon border. I am capital of Nigeria's Cross River State and considered the future superstar of West African tourism. That bright, shiny future is just around the corner according to the Governor's active timetable. In terms of economic potential, I am located near Port Harcourt, heart of Nigeria's petroleum industry, a magnet for business travelers from all corners of the world.
What about my mission for the new millenium? I was selected host city for the Africa Travel Association's 10th Cultural and Ecotourism Symposium, a prestige event that attracts tourism industry executives from North America and the world. What was the key factor for this decision?
The answer lies in the federal and state governments' new focus on tourism infrastructure , with three world class megaprojects well underway and coming into play at the very same moment, with 2007 being the pivotal year. This combination affects the fortunes of the city, state and country in a positive manner and will be a magnet for further trade, tourism and investment in the area. Members of the Africa Travel Association (ATA) contingent from the USA and Canada saw the big picture at a glance, and felt it in the unbounded optimism of their Nigerian hosts.
"The successful hosting of the Africa Travel Association (ATA) Ecotourism summit by the Cross River State government will go a long way in changing the face of the country's tourism." Sumonu Bello-Osagie , Nigerian Consulate , New York.
The visitors from ATA were shown each of these megaprojects in the following order (1) An outstanding waterfront development that will change the face of the city dramatically and become a focus for enhanced marine tourism and river cruises. (2) The giant Tinapa Business and Leisure Park, where engineer Len Dickinson gave the group a presentation and walking tour through this fascinating area that will be West Africa's first Free Trade Zone, and (3) The Obudu Cattle Ranch, operated by Protea Hotels of South Africa, a pleasant drive from Calabar on good roads, or a short hop by aircraft or helicopter. What's more, a modern gondola system whisks visitors to the broad, upper plateau from a theme park on the lower road not far from the Obudu Ranch airstrip. Expect much more to come on the big three plus more impressions of this exciting city, which is old in terms of history, but young in terms of spirit.
Visit my Slave History Park and the International Museum with its many relics of the British Empire and mementos of local chiefs and colonial dignitaries. You will discover that I have been inhabited for two millennia, being discovered by European navigators as early as the 1400s. Prior to independence I was the former seat of Government of Niger Coast, Southern and Oil River Protectorates. Other visitor attractions include the Botanical Gardens, Sports Stadium Complex and University of Calabar.
I have become a showcase for another valid reason - being considered the nation's cleanest city - and perhaps the model for all of Africa. How did it happen in such a short time? Perhaps it was inspired by the same human urge for beauty, order and cleanliness that made "America in Bloom" such a huge sucess in transforming entire communities, setting up a healthy competition that's bound to catch on worldwide. Here are some comments in that regard relating directly to Calabar
"The cleanliness of Calabar's is amazing to Nigerian visitors to the city and even those who haven't been there have heard of how clean it is. So much so that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Mallam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai who wants to make Abuja the Singapore of Africa in terms of beauty, had to pay a pilgrimage to Calabar to see things for himself and find out from Duke and his team how they did it."\
"With so many Nigerian cities overflowing with refuge and generally lacking in cleanliness and hygiene one of the things Duke did when he became Governor was clean up the major cities in the state, implemented a maintenance strategy to ensure they remained clean, including a zero tolerance policy for people who choose to throw waste around. Waste management in Calabar is very efficient. The city is organized into 45 cells and given to private contractors to manage. The contractors are responsible for street-sweeping and waste management and contractors are immediately replaced if they fail to perform."
"Many who pick a holiday destination in Africa opt for Kenya, South Africa, Tunisia or perhaps Morocco. But the city of Calabar in Nigeria -- Africa's most populous nation, a global oil producer and a continental powerhouse -- probably doesn't figure high on many destination lists. It's remote, even for Nigerians. But the governor has grand plans to change all that." NPR
Tinapa - Birth of a
TINAPA &endash; BIRTH OF A SUPER OASIS!
Tinapa is the resort that means business &endash; the business of combing business, pleasure and leisure! This will be the first time that anything like this has been experienced in West Africa. No longer will you need to go to Europe, the Far East or America to enjoy the best entertainment, shopping and leisure facilities the world has to offer! The total Tinapa complex is massive &endash; 80 000 m2 of retail and wholesale emporiums alone. The emporiums feature a borderless, seamless shopping environment - a unique concept that unfolds a new dimension in retailing for the first time in Africa's history! These massive 21st century shopping emporiums will be supported by a vast array of retailers offering everything from exclusive bookshops, specialty CD and DVD outlets, pharmacies to beauty salons, banks and jewellery stores! Plus an incredible entertainment centre including cinemas, food court, internet cafe and games arcade! There will be a dazzling range of six hotels to choose from - accommodation to suit a variety of lifestyles and budgets. The magnificent waterfront development incorporating a Fisherman's Wharf, will showcase even more restaurants, bars and tourist kiosks. Imagine, after an endless night of fun, enjoying a champagne breakfast whilst watching a beautiful sunrise over the azure waters of the Calabar River!
And as if that's not enough entertainment there'll be added attractions to indulge in, including a golfer's paradise with driving range and putting green, a jungle carting track, quad biking route, plus a clay pigeon and archery course! Water activities, including water-skiing, parasailing, rowing and canoeing will take place in a luxurious oasis environment! Agri and eco tourism attractions will include a sizeable exotic bird sanctuary, a crocodile farm, a tropical fish farm, a primate rehabilitation centre and much, much more in the sun-drenched waterways of Tinapa! Tinapa is the ultimate shop and party till-you-drop leisure centre &endash; a world that is alive twenty-fours a day with a never-ending choice of activities to choose from. Tinapa will provide visitors with a unique tourism experience and the development will fast track growth of the tourism sector in Calabar, Cross River State and Nigeria.
The architectural design of Tinapa exploits the natural richness of Africa through explorations into worlds of water and succulent vegetation, which seamlessly coalesce with the architecture to create what can only be described as a super oasis! The combination of textures, patterns and materials creates a unique signature for Tinapa enhancing its inimitable stature as one of the world's greatest business and leisure zones. The total development is massive &endash; 80 000 m2 of retail and wholesale emporiums. These massive 21st century emporiums will be supported by a vast array of retailers! Adjoining the shopping area will be a formidable entertainment complex embracing six hotels and a magnificent waterfront development &endash; the Fisherman's Wharf. There'll be added leisure environments including a golfer's paradise, a jungle carting track, quad biking route, plus a clay pigeon and archery course. Water activities will take place in a luxurious oasis atmosphere! Agri and eco tourism attractions will include an exotic bird sanctuary, a crocodile farm, a tropical fish farm anda ground breaking primate rehabilitation centre.
This architectural design for Tinapa was created by GAPP, Architects & Urban Designers, one of the greatest architectural firms in Africa. GAPP's track record defines the future success of Tinapa. GAPP maintains a consistently high standard of service and commitment through a rigorous process of critical evaluation and exploration on every project. This approach is evident in the work produced by GAPP and the numerous accolades they've received. Most of all their achievements can be measured by the success of their completed projects &endash; the V & A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa being one of the finest examples &endash; a multimillion dollar money spinner that's an international attraction! From the grand vision defined by Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke, GAPP evolved the final design - the creation of a Free Trade Zone to rival, if not exceed, what the best in the world can offer. The bold new landscape of the Tinapa business and leisure empire. The place where Africa shops!
"The Federal Government of Nigeria in its determined efforts to develop at promote tourism into economically viable industry had in 1991 evolved a tourism policy. The main thrust of the policy is to make Nigeria a prominent tourism destination in Africa, generate foreign exchange, encourage even development, promote tourism-based rural enterprises, generate employment, accelerate rural-urban integration and foster sociocultural unity among the various regions of the country through the promotion of domestic and international tourism. It also aims at encouraging active private sector participation in tourism development "