In a bid to elevate Carnival Calabar to new heights, Governor Senator Bassey Otu has commenced preparations for the upcoming 2023 edition of the renowned cultural event.
Celebrating its 21st anniversary, the carnival promises to be a grand spectacle showcasing the rich heritage of Cross River State and Nigeria at large.
The Governor recently received a delegation of Turkish investors who have expressed keen interest in contributing to the success of Carnival Calabar. Governor Otu emphasized the need for the event’s rejuvenation, relaunch, and reimagining, considering its two-decade-long existence as a significant investment that merits refreshing.
During their visit, the Turkish team, accompanied by officials including Chairman of the Tourism and Culture Cluster, Mr. Gabe Onah, and the Director of Tourism, Mr. Ekpenyong Ojoi, conducted an inspection tour of the 12km Carnival Route. They also held separate meetings with the Governor, Deputy Governor Rt. Hon. Peter Odey, Speaker of the House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Elvert Ayambem, and others.
Deputy Governor Hon. Odey praised the vibrant and colorful nature of Carnival Calabar, comparing it to Brazil’s renowned carnival. He assured the Turkish investors of the State’s commitment to providing a secure environment for their investments and expressed optimism that the partnership would propel Cross River State back to its position as Nigeria’s number one tourism destination.
Mr. Gabe Onah, head of the Culture and Tourism Cluster, presented the team from GL Turkiye – Serenas, highlighting their expertise in organizing global events, including the African Nations Cup. Onah revealed that the goal was to make the Carnival Calabar brand self-sustaining, reducing its reliance on government support and encouraging private sector-driven initiatives, particularly within the carnival bands.
Representatives of GL Turkiye – Serenas, Ms. Umran Alinak and Seda Diker, expressed their readiness to make Carnival Calabar a global phenomenon. They praised the event’s significance and promised to bring in their expertise, acquired from organizing major events such as the World Cup and Super Ball. A larger team from GL Turkiye – Serenas is expected to return to Calabar in September to begin preparations for the highly anticipated carnival in December.
Renowned travel market organizer, Mr. Ikechi Uko, lauded the potential of Carnival Calabar 2023 to maintain its position as Nigeria’s foremost cultural event, with the potential to extend its positive impact beyond Africa to the global stage.
The people of Cross River State and Nigeria eagerly await the grand spectacle that Carnival Calabar 2023 promises to be, with the partnership with Turkish investors and GL Turkiye – Serenas poised to take the carnival to greater heights.