By Jimoh Babatunde
Domestic tourism is the answer to the ailing sector in the country, Chief Silas AmachreeÂ has suggested.Chief Silas Amachree, who was in Calabar for the Calabar CarnivalÂ said over reliance on foreign tourists has to turn around the countryâ€™s tourism would be a mirage if necessary attention is not paid to attracting Nigerians to visit various part of the country.
Chief Silas Amachree was commenting on the overwhelming numbers of visitors to the Cross River state capital during the Christmas festival from all over the country, which recorded one of the biggest tourism booms in history.
The Magret EkpoÂ airport was overwhelmed by the number of aircraft that landed there, as local tourists swarmed the town over Christmas and New Year.
â€œI think with what is happening in Calabar yearly and other festivals like Osun Osogbo festival, the Argungu fishing festival and Igue among other, Nigerians need toÂ realiseÂ the need to go round the country to realise how beautiful it is,â€ said Chief Silas Amachree who reside in Port Harcourt.
Chief Silas Amachree said a vibrant media, which highlighted Cross RiversÂ positively as a wonderful tourist destination, also contributed to the boom. â€œI must thank the media for persistently highlighting CalabarÂ as a wonderful place to visit throughout the year. This has attracted many visitors to the place,â€ he said.
All hotels were fully booked, and so were local hotels in town. Virtually every sleeping space was occupied in the town from Christmas. On the day of the Carnival, all roads in Calabar wereÂ impassable, as they wereÂ jammed with human traffic.
Night joints and restaurants were overflowing with guests. The eateries in Calabar townÂ were also occupied by thousands of revellers throughout the night.