The Chairman of Carnival Calabar Commission, Mr Gabe Onah has disclosed that four bikers gang are set to add glitz and glamour to the 2018 Calabar Carnival.
Speaking in Calabar on Tuesday at the 3rd and final dry run on Sunday December 9, Onah stated that the excitement the bikers bring to the show is unimaginable.
He noted that the special effects are the motorcyclists, the power bikers, wonders on wheels and the special vehicles that take on the routes.
The Chairman of the Calabar Carnival Commission said the bikers will be led by the Governor’s Gang called the Scorpio Gang followed by Metallic Knights, followed by Tinapa Knights and the Aviators led by the former Governor of the State, Mr. Donald Duke.
He explained that: “This year we are having an all hype because four bikers gang will be participating, they will be led by the Governor’s Gang called the Scorpio Gang followed by Metallic Knights, followed by Tinapa Knights and the Aviators led by the former Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke.
The excitement this brings is unimaginable. You can experience the first dry run by the bikers, they went round the carnival routes and it all went agog”.
He continued that, ” we are doing this to also showcase some of these technologies that some of us were not born to see also to our younger ones, our children especially the millenniums and up to the wonders on wheels and the power bikers whose primary purpose is to activate and create excitements along the carnival routes and again they come with their own bikes because they have expendable income”.
Onah explained that the dry run is an effort to try the systems, inform the public and then calibrate the routings.
This is because along the carnival routes itself we have utilities, the adjudication points, the rest points, refreshments points, merchandising points and off course for the revellers to keep feet. We also host some VVIPs, stakeholders who market us, who sell Carnival Calabar. The next level is making sure that people come as tourists and we have seen here based on visitation by tour operators who are here on familiarisation tours to see for themselves so that they can be able to market to existing and potential tourists already. We usually host three dry runs, Onah said.
On expectations from the dry run, the Carnival Commission chairman noted that the people of the state has the warmest welcome in Africa to offer tourists.
He said if the tourists come, “they will recreate and go back and produce more, but above all we are ready to the extent that the hotels, the environment and those that provide hospitality are geared toward making a difference and to provide that which tourists always look out for, the difference and to ensure there is a repeat visit.”
Commenting on the Festival Village, Onah emphasised that the Festival Village is the business part of Carnival Calabar.
According to him: “The Festival Village is deliberate, is the business part of Carnival Calabar, it is the industry behind Carnival Calabar, then the emotional angle and the consciousness of the people where people sit around for life changing experience, where people hang around under family setting to share the season. Yes is the first week, yet you see how the Festival Village is. For us, the bottom line is the visitors elements that they have seen the desire to buy in. We have seen our brothers and sisters from across Rivers, Cameroun, from Ghana, we have the British chefs who are all out, so we are very honoured.”
Speaking also, the president of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Alhaji Saleh Rabo said the body is in Calabar to underscore and study the event and to see how it can support the Carnival so that it can continue to grow from strength to strength.
Rabo noted that tourism plays a very important role in the economy of any given nation or state, adding that the Federation will continue to support Cross Rivers state because the State has placed Nigerian tourism on the global map.
“This is one of the biggest event that is coming out of Africa sponsored by the Cross River State Government. They are doing this to support the local people because tourism is multifaceted , it helps the local people and the local economy to grow so that the benefit can trickle down and be enjoyed by the general public. We shall continue to support them, we also call on other event managers in the country to copy from the example Cross River State so that we can place Nigeria on the tourism visibility map. This is because, it is only tourism we can use to unify this country and to grow the economy,” Rabo concluded.