Calabar, the Cross River State capital is gradually returning to its serene nature after the hustle and bustle of the past few days, occasioned by the high number of people who were in the capital to take part in the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Annual Conference, held at the Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort.
From as early as weeks before the conference commenced, providers of essential services in the state worked round the clock to meet the demands of an external population which was heading for Calabar.
Worst hit were transport and hotel operators, whose services enjoyed the highest patronage. Several hotels were fully booked and even some hotels who ordinarily do not count, calitown.com investigations reveal, had more than their fair share of patronage. This situation it was further discovered created room for the hiking of room rates across board. For instance, as calitown.com had earlier reported, rooms that normally went for between N5, 000 to N7, 000, were given out for between N12, 500 to N15, 000.
Transport operators concentrated more on the Murtala Mohammed Highway to Tinapa route as it became the busiest route in Calabar throughout the period of the conference, to the detriment of commuters not going that way. One operator told calitown.com that, “this kind conference for dey come every week”, obviously because lots of them broke even with their services. When pointed to the fact that commuters on other routes were suffering, his response was, “make them bear with us small”.
Food vendors and restaurants in the city were not left out as most of them extended working hours to cater to a steady stream of customers, most of whom insisted on being served local dishes like ‘Ekpang’, ‘Afang’, ‘Edikang-ikong’ and several others. Bars and lounges too, had more than a bite at the cherry as they also extended working hours, some even ran for 24hours, calitown.com discovered.
Meanwhile, on condition of anonymity, a top level businessman in the state has informed calitown.com that while the state maybe attracting top level events of this nature to Calabar, those in-charge of tourism development have not been able to tap into these events and see “how more of those who come here, can come back again”. He added that, “it is at big events like this with high earning individuals in attendance that our state can be more aggressively marketed, I mean if those people we always spend huge sums of money to go and lobby in Lagos are here, shouldn’t whoever is running that place think of how to reinforce the marketing of our tourism potentials or is it because driving to Tinapa has no estacode attached?”, he asked.
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