Some time ago in Calabar, at a public function, the executive governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade assured of his administration’s determination to revamp and strategically market the Obudu Mountain Resort to global tourists once again.
The assurance was well-received by many tourism stakeholders who have severally decried the moribund state of the once-thriving resort and the pride of Nigerian tourism at its peak, some years ago.
Due to poor management, inability to sustained fierce marketing campaigns, bad road network, poor air connectivity, insecurity among other challenges, the resort lost its market share of visitors to other competitive destinations within and outside the country, especially Dubai.
It would be recalled that at its peak, Obudu Mountain Resort grew in quality offerings and visitations to become the best destination in Nigeria, and also competed with destinations, which many Nigerian holiday makers hitherto visit abroad for vacation.
However, the resort did not lose much over the period of low visitation. The natural attractions and appeals, which are the main reasons to visit, still lure adventure seekers. The unrivaled and serene environment, the rare wildlife, the breathtaking landscape, waterfall, close encounter with the cloud and heaven, Holy Mountain, the ranch, the hospitable host community, among other wonders are still intact.
With nature taking care of itself, the government of Cross River swooped into action to restore the man-made attractions and reignite the effortless marriage of nature and man at the resort once again.
So far, the restoration efforts have yielded fruits. At present, the resort is shining again with revamped world class facilities. The gym, game house, steak house, lawn tennis club, restaurant and bar are all wearing new looks.
Yet, the cable car, which is the first in the country, is set to roll again after its recent restoration. Once again, visitors will be glad to see nature from the bird’s eye view, photograph and record rare excitement while onboard the cable car.
The resort is also offering new thrills to visitors, especially the Grott. It is a mini waterfall with a pool, but unlike the natural pool, the grotto has been modified a little now to allow the water to accumulate at its bed, forming a deep pool for breathtaking swimming experience and water fun.
Another thrill is that lovers of nature can now acquire land at the resort to build homes close to nature.
Of course, accommodation facilities including the exotic mountains villas and offices have all been given facelift. At present, the 165 rooms and suites in the resort are revamped for maximum comfort of the guests. Power, street lights, intercom and Wifi services are fully back.
Considering the restoration, the ranch is now witnessing high patronage, evident with the 165 rooms that are always fully occupied.
The development is exciting to tourism stakeholders, the Cross River State government and, especially to Bobby Ekpenyong, special adviser to the Cross River State Governor on Obudu Mountain Resort.
Ekpenyong, who had relocated to Obudu since his appointment, is happy to see the ranch rebound in his time, with the support of the governor and him team.
At the Naija Seven Wonders webinar session, organised recently by Ikechi Uko, CEO, Akwaaba Africa Travel Market, the excited special adviser took time to explain the rationale for the restoration and determination to sustain the success achieved so far at the resort.
For him, the restoration was aimed at creating a rebirth perception, giving the resort a global destination appeal, and ultimately, to attract more visitors, and impact the local and state economies.
“We have a complete turnaround at the Obudu Mountain Resort. All that you used to know about the resort are up again including; the tour sites, the grotto, Holy Mountain, the water parks and the canopy walk way. We have also brought the cable car back to life”, Ekpenyong disclosed at the webinar.
Speaking further, he assured that everything is perfectly in order, including accommodation offerings across the Mountain Villa, and the Presidential Villa, as well as, the beautification of the resort.
“We are doing everything to ensure that this festive season our guest will have maximum time at the resort”, he assured.
On the issues of bad road and epileptic power supply, the special adviser noted that the roads are better now with efforts at fixing the bad adjourning roads to the resort despite the fact that they are federal roads.
He disclosed that the Enugu-ebonyi route to the resort is good, Calabar route and Benue route, for people coming from Abuja, are getting better with ongoing improvements, while air connections are better using the Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar and Bebi Airstrip near the resort.
Again, the state government is bringing a foreign power company to install wind turbine as an independent and alternative source of electricity and to ensure constant power supply at the resort.
In his remarks at the Naija Seven Wonders webinar on the resort, Ikechi Uko, the organiser of the virtual event, commended the state government for the sustained efforts and huge investment in infrastructure and manpower that have restored the resort to its past glory.
But he advised that more efforts should be made at marketing the resort to global visitors and refreshing the offerings constantly, while collaborations with Nigerian tour operators, media, airlines and other stakeholders are imperative going forward.
Beyond the restoration and improved facilities, Ekpeyong noted that Obudu Mountain Resort is worth visiting because of the assured security, as the state has very low crime rate, as well as, has recorded minimal cases of the coronavirus pandemic spread.
Now that Obudu is back, the government and people of Cross River State are urging for more visitations by all to enjoy the rich natural vegetation, picturesque views and world class facilities at the resort.
Obudu awaits your visit, any day and all seasons to fete you with unrivaled nature.
By Emelike Obinna