Analysts have said Tinapa is king in Nigeria, and indeed Africa, Tinapa is modeled after similar centres in Hongkong, Singapore, Dubai, Bombay, Taiwan and Bangkok.
Nigeria prides itself as home to 23 species of primates, 18 are found in the Cross River National Park the Cross River gorilla and the Chimpanzee, however, the fauna of the park is wonderful.
Interestingly, the Cross River gorilla colony is the only one in Sub-Saharan Africa. For those crazy about gorillas, Nigeria is the best destination; and the tracking of the species goes on all year round. The Nigerian government, in collaboration with its Camerounian counterpart, have been assiduously working to ensure the protection and survival of the endangered species. At the park also two new species of butterfly have surfaced: Tetrahanis okwangwo and Thermoniphas barahingam.
Also listed among the mammalian species endemic to the park are Chevrotain, giant pangolin, the golden potto or Calabarangwantibo and preuss’ guenon. The “ecostars” to behold at are the once considered extinct but resurfaced bird, the bald-headed rock fowl picarthates oreas.
For visitors to the Park to have access to all the fore-going endowments, a stipend ideally should be charged at each section so revenue would accrue to the promoters and of course taxes paid to the government. But the story, we learnt has been different as only the visitor facilities and conference spaces have remained major income spinners.
There is the Butatong Base camp in Okwangwo which is furnished with an arboretum, picnic garden lodges and network of nature trails. Akamkpa, a modesty furnished four-bedroom Guest House is another visitor facility. Also available is a 20-bed space hostel for students and low budget visitors.
Development of the Kanyang Tourist Village, it is believed, would lead to an explosion of eco-tourism not only in the Park but Cross River State in general. The adventure in the untapped goldmine would enhance the exploitation of the eco-tourism resources of the Mbe Gorilla mountains, the Afik mountain wildlife sanctuary, the pandrilus primates conservation project, buanchor and the Obudu Mountain Resort as well as TINAPA. Although, the best period of the year for visiting the Cross River Park is November through May, a statement credited to the Head Office stated.
But the giant strides in advancing Tourism in Nigeria would take hold and translate into naira and kobo only when there is synergy between the states’ tourism departments, agencies and corporate interest and the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Art the major authority in charge.
While the present administration has rolled out its laudable tourism agenda, it behooves on the authorities to help set international standards in terms of facilities and features, create the right markets mechanisms, then intensify the much needed awareness to cajole Nigerians into developing a large appetite for home tourism. That way the capital flight via overseas tourism would be arrested and the home market better for it.