Akwa Ibom Christmas village… Where entertainment meets tourism
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With the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, the 2020 Christmas season looked bleak. Annual events were cancelled all over the world, including the record setting annual 9999 event in Uyo. But the opening of the Christmas Village has brought some life back to holidaymakers and citizens of Akwa Ibom.
Set on a huge spread of land at the cultural centre, which allows for effective social distancing and respect of COVID-19 protocols, the Akwa Ibom Christmas Village has created value of more than N1Billion naira since it was opened on December 1, 2020.
The State Commissioner of Tourism Honorable Orman Esin told the visiting team of tour operators, stakeholders and journalists from Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt that, “The Christmas Village is a statement to show that Akwa Ibom is ready for the business of tourism.”
The team was led by a tourism expert Ambassador Ikechi Uko and comprised of members of the Seven Wonders of Nigeria project the Naija7wonders group. The visit to Akwa Ibom was organised by Travellab, an Uyo based travel company and were hosted by the State Tourism Ministry and supported by Ibom Air.
On arrival, the team met with the management of Ibom Air at the airport office of the airline. They were later taken on a tour of some locations in Akwa Ibom guided by a biodiversity expert Professor Edem Eniang. They visited the Itam sacred Monkey Sanctuary and from there went to Itu confluence town where Cross River and River Eniong meets. They also visited the Mary Slessor Heritage Sites, had a tour of Ikot Abasi historical sites before lunch at Ibom Resort.
According to the Commissioner, Esin the Akwa Ibom Christmas Village is the biggest Christmas event of it’s kind in Africa with the size of its location and potential for growth.
“Over 600 vendors attract thousands of visitors every evening. This will become a must visit place in Nigeria every December,” he said.
With Lots of musical events, drama games and outdoor catering, the village has been keeping the bustling spirit of Christmas very high in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State Capital.