A source close to the Kenya Tourism Board has welcomed the opportunity to engage in close cooperation with the Cross River State of Nigeria and was hopeful to expand such cooperation across Nigeria and in fact with other African countries to enhance tourism ties on the continent.
Kenya’s marketing drive across the African continent has paid off with some 23,000 Nigerians last year visiting the country, which is linked by daily flights. Kenya Airways connects daily to Lagos and the upcoming service to Abuja will no doubt further strengthen business and tourism ties between the two countries at the opposite side of the continent.
The Director of Culture in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, Dr. Mary Teresa Agba said that her state has a lot to learn from Kenya as they seek to brand themselves as a cultural destination. “Besides the wildlife and beach safari that we have known Kenya for, we are keen on learning on how to develop and repackage culture as a product as well as embracing sustainable tourism through handicraft business,” said Dr. Agba before adding: “We are aware of Kenya’s zeal towards eco-tourism by giving communities priorities in areas such as handicrafts, community-made wares, among other opportunities that have direct impact on local communities where tourism is being carried out.”
She said empowering the communities through handicrafts and the production of souvenirs was one way of ensuring sustainability as well as embracing eco-tourism practices that is becoming popular in current tourism.
Calabar city is a tourism hub for a Nigeria, attracting slightly over half a million tourists a year through the famous Calabar Festivals that usually take place between November and December. The festival showcases cultural values such as marriage, cuisine, costumes, dances, poetry, and song, among others.