First Bank partners Calabar Festival to boost tourism

By The Citizen

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has pledged its support to the 2013 Calabar Festival as a strategy towards driving non-oil revenue initiatives as well as preserving Nigeria's cultural heritage.

The bank has since 2004 continued to play a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the festival.

With the theme 'Ain't no stopping us,' the 2013 edition of the carnival, which commenced on Saturday, November 30, is expected to play host to over 500,000 visitors and 50,000 costumed revellers, include foreign tourists. This development, economic experts say, will translate to huge gains arising from various commercial activities that attend the festival.

The bank is delighted to support Calabar Festival, as it resonates with its desire to see the nation enhance its tourism potential and its cultural heritage while promoting the diversification of the economy, according to First Bank's spokesperson, Folake Ani-Mumuney.

'First Bank, as a heritage brand, is always keen to align with activities and causes that project the values of the nation in a positive light across the globe. We are proud of the achievements of the Carnival Calabar over the years and remain committed to supporting the festival as well as partnering with similar events that have the potential of enhancing the country's status on global ratings. Our involvement with the carnival since inception has raised its profile amongst local and international tourists who look forward to enjoying the Bank's technology-driven products and services every year,' she said.

Noting that the event will afford participants the opportunity to meet the Bank's team of financial and investment advisers, Ani-Mumuney said First Bank would participate in the 32-day festival, particularly in events such as the tree lighting ceremony, governor's masked fete, theatre performances, golf tournament and the climax of the events being Carnival Calabar,  Africa's Biggest Street Party'. The carnival, which will take place on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 December 2013, presents a host of opportunities: an avenue for entrepreneurs to gain and share knowledge; networking for local and international professionals; as well as generating conversation among government functionaries, private sector and representatives from countries where carnivals have been known to drive vast foreign exchange earnings.

'As a Bank, we believe our primary responsibility is to support individuals, organizations and governments to realize their financial and economic aspirations. Our partnership with the Cross River State Government in hosting the annual Calabar Festival has positioned the state as a prime tourist destination. Over 1 million visitors are looking forward to attending the carnival and one can only imagine the immense economic benefits this portends for the hospitality industry, transportation, and government earnings in taxes, among others,' she said.