By Jimoh Babatunde
The launch of the Tourism Employment and Opportunity (TEMPO) project in Lagos during the week has been described as an indication that the government of Cross River is determined to grow tourism in partnership with the private sector.
TEMPO is a project of CDC Development Solutions, an NGO based in the United States, and is funded by the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Project, a pilot project of the world Bank and federal Government of Nigeria implemented by the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council.
The project is focused on hotels; and other business in tourism sector and hasÂ started in Cross River state and based in Calabar to help hotel, restaurant and tour operators and transportation companies to provide better service quality, to work on packaging and pricing and to manage their business better and profitably.
Speaking at the launch of the project in Lagos, the Managing Director, Cross River State Tourism Bureau, Mrs. Elenda Osima-Dokubo said the state has initiated series of creative initiatives to propel sustainable development of its people and environment.
â€œOne of these initiatives is tourism, particullarly Eco-tourism because of the subsectorâ€™s potentials to contribute to development which is economically, ecologically, socially sustainable and offers wide spread positive impact but less expensive in comparative terms.â€
While noting that Cross River State have tremenous economic , environmental and tourism values, Mrs. Osima-Dokunbo explained that the people of the state are the most welcoming and hospital people any one can find in the world, with an exceptional rich culture that dates back to AD 200.
â€œInformed by all these, the government initiated a tourism vision that consolidated the foundation of government effort in positioning tourism as the fulcrum for sustainable economic development and the role of public/private sector partnership in achieving the state vision.â€
He said the launch of the TEMPO Cross River Quality Ambassador program in Lagos is an indication of that the government determination to grow tourism in partnership with the private sector tourism stakeholders is beginning to yield positive results.
â€œAs we brace up to undertake yet another innovation from TEMPO we are optimistic that with sustained collaboration between the public and private tourism industry players, the Ambassador program will again set and place Cross River State as a new benchmark in marketing an all season tourists traffic to the state and Nigeria in general.â€
Ann Oden Country Director CDC said the project will identify needs in Cross River State to improve tourism products and services as well as provide business development services through technical assistance and a grant programme.
She added that the Ambassador program is designed to assist in the development of Cross River Stateâ€™s tourism value chain in many different ways; by expanding awareness about standards and yeild management by tourism service providers; by building brand awareness in the demand markets and by targeting TEMPO matching grants to further improve the role of business development service providers throughout the supply chain.
Ann Oden noted that the goal of the program is to increase occupancy at hotels during the coming months with an approach and template that may be incorporated into CRQ future practices.
She said during the months of February and March, customers will be provided with discounted packages for group meetings and on various leisure themes.
The promotion packages unveiled to participants include â€˜Meet me in Cross Riverâ€™; â€˜Destination Calabarâ€™; Paradise in the Cloudsâ€™; Valentineâ€™s Romanceâ€™; and â€˜Gospel Encountersâ€™