Culled from The Sun Newspaper
From all that is gathering around Nigeria’s socio-economic atmosphere, it is quite apparent that the country is at the threshold of an important revolution and transformation in her tourism industry following the advent of Tinapa.For the first time, Nigeria republic can now boast of a world class business resort, capable of not only changing the ugly visage of the country but also attract enormous investment; an outcome of which will skyrocket her annual GDP.Understandably, the project was initially dismissed as impossible, unrealizable and a figment of Governor Donald Duke’s imagination owing to the fact that very little in previous administration was accomplished in transforming the tourism industry to a state of the art resort for tourist pleasures. However, what is consoling about this is that the tourism potential of Cross Rivers State cannot be underestimated and as long as it remains, it will be the backbone of the resuscitation of the erstwhile ailing tourism industry in the state and by extension Nigeria. Hence, the revamping of the moribund Obudu Cattle Ranch was a step in the right direction for the state. This has become a source of pride for Nigerians and not only for the Akwa Ibomites alone as it is designed to capitalize on Nigeria’s fast growing economy to put Tinapa in the mega-league of global trading centres.The project, apart from the business aspect offers so much potential for tourism. To complement the already existing leisure and attractive areas, is the breathtaking Studio Tinapa built over an area covering over 55,000 square metres, first of its kind in the country, commissioned recently by President Olusegun Obasenjo. The Tinapa studio was built in collaboration with Dream entertainment, a United States based production and distribution outfit.The amphi-theatre studio designed for shows and recording purposes of local and foreign productions in Nigeria for feature films, TV shows, dramas, and other related productions. The huge film studio is fitted with a fully adjustable crossover lighting grid with all the facilities of a modem theatre.Tinapa offers an umbrella for varied economic activities. Its four giant anchor emporiums cover a vast area exceeding 40,000 square metres of trading space. It provides an enabling environment for entrepreneurial sustenance and development. The four emporiums offers profound range of opportunities such as space for banking, furniture showroom, tile show rooms, Internet Café, Telephone and Outdoor Showroom.Ample spaces have also been allotted for vehicle showrooms, lifestyle, hardware, motor accessories, sports goods, linens and fabrics, toys, speciality and stationery. It is wide range shopping tenantries that include office equipment, Books and music shops, Supermarkets, fish market, fruits and vegetable or grocery store. There are also shops for travel agency, pharmacy, tobacconist shop, speciality, photographic, car hire and dry cleaner. Others include courier service, optometrist, textiles, fashion, branded fashion, ladies shoes, Gents shoes, hair dressers as well as specialist fashion. Household items that have shopping space provided for them include furniture, bedding and mattresses, lighting, home accessories, appliances and electronics, art and framing. Shops are also allotted for specialist items such as jewelry, cosmetics, children’s clothes, specialty audio, leather and luggage. Enough space has also been allotted for potential tenants to showcase computer and their accessories.There are also line shops for boutiques, restaurant, outdoor sports, beauty therapy, and camera sports. Others are fast foods, electronics, optical, toys and hobbies, arts and curious, lingerie as well as confectioneries. In Tinapa, it appears that virtually no item that is not given consideration. Other major attraction of the Tinapa wonder world includes its vast arrays of leisure and entertainment facilities. These include the Tsogo Sun International Casino, and the 300-room Southern Sun Budget Hotels. There is also the Entertainment centre including eight movie theatres. Nature is brought down to earth with a fisherman’s village which consists of themed bars nightclubs, and an art craft village. The entertainment orbit is not complete without the international movie studio.For sports facilities, there are children’s play area, tennis and volley ball courts, games arcade and ten pin bowling alley. The eatery orbit comprises world class restaurants, and food court with take away outlets. And immensely mesmerizing is the world class water world theme park.To support the magnificent facilities in Tinapa, the outgoing Duke administration in Calabar had planned to put in place wonderful infrastructure that will make Tinapa truly world class. The Resort has been created as an exclusive environment that is totally supportive of global trading.Another hallowed component of this stupendous infrastructure is the airport which is being upgraded to international standards to corroborate the impending flow of tourists as it translates to a business and tourism hub for the entire West Africa sub-region. A minor-rail system which carries passengers is to connect Calabar international Airport, direct to Tinapa. It is envisaged that the excellent facilities offered by the Calabar Port which is currently being dredged will be able to accommodate large container ships, allowing tenants to easily bring goods to Tinapa. Tinapa is also guaranteed constant supply of electricity through an Independent Power Programme. Security is guaranteed through an internal security unit, using the latest surveillance, monitoring and access control mechanisms. In Information Technology, Tinapa assures of the best of breed ICT infrastructure, including telephoning, data, POS.Already, Tinapa has started attracting partners. MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd announced its latest strategic move to clinch up a market deal as the official Telecoms partner of the Africa’s Premier Business Resort.As the official Telecom partner of Tinapa, it would be granted rights to provide telecoms services to the entire Tinapa business resort. It already has an ultra modern connect store.Tinapa Business Resort is located within a unique Tax free zone offering numerous benefits to tenants. It allows retailers to import, free of duty, capital goods, consumer goods, raw materials, components and articles. It offers excellent opportunities to investors, including exemption from all federal, state and local taxes, unrestricted repatriation of both dividends and capital. Tinapa Business Resort effortlessly combines business with high velocity leisure. To support the hotel is an array of professional services and offering amenities such as sickbay, management offices and so on. There is a warehouse cluster with five warehouses, leisure land, water world facility, wave pool, standing wave surfing, lazy river ride, water slides, and picnic area, among others. There is accommodation for associated facilities such as lifeguard tower, kiosks, and other management offices.Tinapa is a compendium of optimal resources to become an open reality. From the opulence of materials used and the palatial impression it sends down the spine of any tourist on a first time visit, it’s all too much to underestimate the painstaking effort of the eminent governor of the state and his people. Although, the relentless and hard work of the typical Calabar person cannot be undermined, this is the crux of their hard work and selfless dedication to the development of their potential. And have ever since internalized the principle as a way of life, thus sending positive signals to the world, and to Nigerians in diaspora.Project Tinapa is remarkable in all respects, talking about its outlook. The design for Tinapa is breathtaking and audacious in its scope; it drew inspiration from a range of finest designs in the world. Cross River State is certainly not the richest state in the country, it is one of the poorest in terms of available resources.
It does not have the petrol dollars of the typical oil rich Niger Delta States nor the vast economic base of Lagos. Yet, it has been able to create a wonderful facility such as Tinapa which will continue to employ thousands of Cross Riverians and other Nigerians.It is examples such as this, one wished other governments would emulate just as one fervently hopes that Governor Duke’s successor in Cross River State will continue from where he stops in Tinapa. So far only a percentage of the huge vision in Tinapa has been achieved. The dream must not die.