Calabar Carnival, Good Re-branding Strategy – DG

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The Director-General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, has said that Carnival Calabar is a veritable tool for the re-branding campaign of Nigeria initiated by the federal government to boost its image to the outside world.
Otunba Runsewe, who made the assertion when he joined the government and people of Cross River State to unveil the 2009 Carnival Calabar with the theme, “Land of our Birth, Our People, Our Heritage” in Calabar, stressed that the potentials of the carnival if fully harnessed is capable of changing the image of the country because it truly represents the beautiful and hospitable disposition of the people far from what is being perceived outside.
He assured the people of incorporating the event, which he noted is well organised as a major tourism event, into the corporation’s calendar while calling on other relevant agencies to begin to see the event as a driving force to Nigeria’s greatness and key into it.
The Director-General maintained that “if other carnivals cannot bring about the anticipated economic gains, Carnival Calabar will bring it for Nigeria,” adding that, efforts will be geared towards sustaining the event and also advised other states who indicated interest to host Carnivals within December to look for another date as the month belongs to Cross River’s Christmas Festival.
He announced the corporation’s support to the event with the donation of 120 mobile toilets, 500 dust bins and 10,000,000 tissue papers during the event in December to carter for conveniences of participants while also introducing Tourism Visa Card by July to prospective tourists to Nigeria.
In his address, the Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Efiok Cobham, said machinery has already been put in place to ensure the sustenance of the event and assured that the 2009 edition will be the biggest and most colourful with intension to becoming the world’s number one carnival event.
He thanked the NTDC for the support in promoting the event and promised to sustain the event to an extent that it will begin to drive the economy of the state for the betterment of the people and Nigeria at large.
In her welcome address, the Executive Secretary, Cross River State Carnival Commission, Mrs. Elenda Osima-Dokubo, said that since the initiation of Carnival Calabar in 2004, Calabar and indeed Cross River has witnessed tremendous socio-economic transformation.
She said that government in 2008 decided to open its doors to private organisations to key into the event by way of sponsorship which she noted recorded a huge success with the appearance of first Bank, Oceanic Bank, etc and appealed to other spirited corporate organizations to come out to sponsor the Carnival which she noted is a good business with promising returns on investment given its widest media participation and publicity.
Also speaking, Leader of Passion 4, winner of the 2008 Carnival Calabar, Mr. Chris Agibe, called on the sponsors to look beyond the Carnival Commission and also sponsor the individual bands to enable them improve on costumes and bands which he said are the main ingredients of the carnival.