By Demola Ojo
Four days from today, on Thursday, November 10, the International Conference Centre, Abuja, will host events that would serve as a foretaste of the bumper package the Cross River State Government intends to deliver in this year’s edition of the increasingly popular Calabar Festival.
The event will be similar to the one held on August 15 last year at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos, which was filled with colour, style, fashion, thrills and excitement. The impact of the marketing strategy was felt as over 1.4 million guests were recorded to have visited Cross River in the festive period last year.
Tagged “A Glimpse of Destination Cross River,” Thursday’s event would showcase to the outside world what the 32-day Calabar Festival, which climaxes with a two-day carnival parade among others, will look and feel like.
According to the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ugbe, last year’s event in Lagos contributed immensely to the success of the festival.
He said: “Calabar Festival this year would be much bigger than the previous ones we have been having. What we are going to do is to showcase what Destination Cross River is all about and what it has to offer. We are taking all that to Abuja. We have a lot of fantastic artistes lined up. The headline artiste, of course, is P-Square who we believe would rock the crowd in Abuja.”
The commissioner also revealed that the state would use Thursday’s event an opportunity to rebrand the state’s tourism. “The tourism brand is going to change. After Thursday, our tourism would wear a new look, a new brand identity and we would have a new slogan.”
The event is also billed to provide an opportunity to raise funds to assist children suffering from pneumonia in the state. According to Ugbe, this charity angle, tagged the Breath of Life, is an initiative of the wife of the governor of Cross River State, Mrs. Obioma Imoke, who has been relentless in her effort to take care of the underprivileged in the society.