Imoke Meets With Stakeholders Over Summit Hills

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BEVERLY HILLS, March 06, (THEWILL) - As construction work in the new development area in Calabar known as Summit Hills gathers momentum, Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, Tuesday, charged stakeholders in the hospitality and allied services to brace up to take advantage of the business opportunities to be thrown up.

Making the charge at a one-day workshop entitled: Sensitization on the Socio-economic Impact of the Summit Hills Development, held at the Transcorp Metro Hotel, Calabar, Governor Imoke said in order to leverage on the vast opportunities the Summit Hills would offer, players in the hospitality sub-sector of the state's economy must, as a matter of priority up their game in order to avoid being eclipsed.

Summit Hills is an integrated project with a medley of convention, recreation, residence and healthcare facilities within a unique and idyllic location bounding the Tinapa Business Resort and Calabar Free Trade Zone.

Addressing participants made up of hoteliers, healthcare providers, golf enthusiasts and representatives of the Carnival Commission and property developers, Imoke who allayed the fears of local players in the sector, however, charged them to be innovative and creative in their service delivery.

The Governor further remarked that the Summit Hills hotel was not meant to drive local hoteliers out of business.

He said that there was need for operators to upgrade their services because while some were expressing fears that the proposed hotel would throw them out of business, some others have been expanding their facilities.

He stressed that nothing was being done without planning by his administration.

He said the various projects initiated by his administration within the Summit Hills were not only envisaged to drive the local economy and position the state as a true destination, but also to bring the Tinapa Business Resort closer to the city centre.

At completion, the Summit Hills will encompass a world-class golf course, a state-of-the-art international convention centre, 105-bed hospital as well as exquisite residential quarters.

He disclosed that Calabar International Convention Centre (CICC) would be the first multi-purpose-built international conference centre in Nigeria, adding that with Cross River rated as the fastest growing economy in the country, the vision was for the Summit Hills to drive the local economy and position the state as a destination.

According to him, Nigerians like to meet and in the right places too, and while looking at the market, it calls for change of image because it is expected that it will attract about 200,000 persons with a minimum of $10 million dollars each year, which is a huge market and not to think of its multiplier effect.

Governor Imoke said buoyed by the attractive market, the state had not taken chances by looking for the best to provide the best, adding that Calabar was a leading conferencing destination of Nigeria apart from Abuja and Lagos.

The governor noted that apart from aesthetics and environment, CICC will be fitted with translation gadget which places it on a class of its own within the West African sub-zone.

The Governor explained that the Calabar Specialist Hospital being built under a Public Private Partnership would be a "referral hospital for both the poor and the rich.

It will provide training and quality service, employ locals, provide improved quality healthcare as well as bring health tourism to Cross River.

" The highpoint of the workshop was the presentation of artistic impressions of the Golf Course Residential Estate, Calabar Specialist Hospital, Golf Estate, and the potential Economic Impact of CCIC by Mr.

Dirk Elzinga, Managing Director, Convention Industry Consultants (PTY) Ltd, a South Africa-based firm.