Hotel shortage hits Cross River as Calabar Carnival bounces back fully
The 20th edition of the annual Calabar carnival in Cross River State has drawn crowds of visitors to the city, eager to partake in the month-long festivities.
However, the surge in attendance has led to a challenging scarcity of available accommodation, presenting a hurdle for many attendees.
The carnival, which commenced on December 1, has lived up to its reputation despite security concerns in the capital city.
With each passing day, many engaging activities have been on display, building up to the highly anticipated “Carnival Calabar” set for December 28.
Numerous visitors who arrived in the city expressed frustration over their struggles to secure lodging, describing the experience as daunting.
Reports revealed that even those who meticulously planned their trips encountered unexpected difficulties finding suitable accommodation within the city limits.
Several visitors recounted their trials, highlighting the exhaustive search for rooms. They revealed that after an extended quest, they managed to secure lodging in peripheral areas, far from the city centre.
Adams Adah, one of the visitors, expressed surprise and dismay at the unanticipated challenge, citing the prevalence of prior bookings that had occupied a significant portion of available hotel spaces.
“We thought it would be easy when we came in, but we were made to understand that bookings were made earlier by several of those who planned to come for the carnival.
“We moved about for hours before we could secure the one when eventually got last night,” she said.
Similarly, Mama Obi, a resident originally from Cross River but currently residing in Lagos, attributed the accommodation crunch to the substantial influx of visitors specifically for the carnival.
“As I speak with you, there is no longer any hotel space in the heart of Calabar Municipality. If you are lucky, you can get one around Atimbo, Ikorishi, 8mile or in Calabar South,” she explained.
Another visitor, Dan, who travelled from Port Harcourt with friends, recounted the struggle to secure adequate accommodation.
He said: “We all had to manage the one I had secured for wants of space. We were told we will not find any, even normal hotel space except in he outskirts.”
Despite the accommodation hurdles, the carnival’s cultural parade showcased active participation from 15 Nigerian states and Cameroon, exhibiting diverse cultural displays and performances.
Gabe Onah, Chairman of the Carnival Commission, anticipates a global viewership of 15 million for the main event, which is scheduled to be broadcast live on DSTV on December 28.
The Cross River State government had earlier declared a 14-day public holiday for civil servants.