Visitors trooping to Cross River for the 2023 annual Calabar carnival are battling to find hotel space in the capital city, reports the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
NAN reports that the 20th edition of the annual carnival which began on December 1, have lived up to its billing in spite of the security challenges in the capital city.
Several activities have been lined up for each day of the 31-days carnival with Dec. 28 slated for the main carnival tagged: “Carnival Calabar”.
Some of the visitors who came into the city on Monday described their experience in scouting for hotel space as terrible.
The visitors who spoke with NAN said they were almost giving up in search for one when they secured one in the outskirts of the city.
The respondents said though, difficult and expensive, but they had to make do with what they got.
One of the visitors, Adams Adah said, “We thought it will 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.”
In the same vein, Mama Obi, who said she is from the state, but reside in Lagos, attributed the difficulty to influx of visitors for the carnival.
She noted that for the lack of space, many of the hotels have adjusted their rates.
“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.
Similarly, another visitor who identified himself as Dan, said he came in on Tuesday morning from Port Harcourt with friends but settled for an apartment he had secured over two weeks ago.
According to him, I actually came with some friends for the carnival but couldn’t get another space for them in the same apartment as it was fully booked.
“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.”
NAN reports that no fewer than 15 states of the federation and Cameroon participated in the cultural event of the annual carnival on Tuesday.
The states that were on the ground to perform at the cultural parade included Enugu, Kebbi, Edo, Rivers, Kaduna, Kwara, Yobe, Ondo, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom amongst others.
The Chairman, Carnival Commission, Mr Gabe Onah, said that 15 million viewers across the globe are expected to watch the main event live on DSTV on Dec. 28.
NAN reports that the state had declared 14-days public holiday for its civil servants for them to participate in the carnival.