Commissioner for Tourism in Cross River, Eric Anderson, has urged the federal government to support the state in repairing properties destroyed by hoodlums in the state last year in the state as a fallout of the #EndSARS protest.
There are at least 156 of such vandalized and looted properties in the state, he said.
Mr. Anderson made the request while addressing members of the Governing Council of the Federation of Tourism Associations in Nigeria (FTAN) at its first quarterly council meeting in Calabar.
FTAN is the national umbrella organization for the tourism business, comprising hoteliers, restaurateurs, travel agents, tour operators, car hire, and cultural operators.
A statement issued on Wednesday by a member of the Board of Trustees of FTAN, Ikechi Uko, said the commissioner indicated that the properties destroyed were worth about N73 billion and that they belonged to individuals, firms, the state, and the federal government.
Mr. Anderson also told the council that the state government already repaired the Waterparks at Tinapa and the art and craft village just in time for the last Christmas, the statement said.
Mr. Uko earlier led FTAN members to pay a courtesy visit to the Speaker, Cross River House of Assembly, William Eteng, who informed the association that the 2020 edition of the annual Calabar Carnival was canceled because of COVID-19.
Mr Eteng thanked the members for choosing Calabar for its first physical meeting.
Nkereuwem Onung, the deputy national president of FTAN, who represented the National President, Rabo Saleh, told the speaker that the association decided to host a physical meeting to kick-start tourism events across the nation.
He said zoom meetings were not good for tourism businesses.
“If people don’t move, tourism would not work; so the movement has to begin within the accepted COVID-19 safety protocols,’’ Mr. Onung said.
He appealed to the Cross River State Government to consider moderating the 2021 Calabar Carnival, instead of canceling it.
Mr. Onung told the speaker that the COVID-19 pandemic affected the tourism business the most and that there was no support or subsidy extended to FTAN members.