The 2020 Christmas festival as well as the corresponding activities at the Christmas village according to the state government would be done with strict adherence to the Covid-19 safety protocols.
This was disclosed by the Commissioner for culture and tourism, Orman Esin yesterday at the Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort Uyo during a press conference to unveil this year’s Christmas activities.
Esin explained that in order to avoid overcrowding and maintain social distancing the government has allocated 11 hectares of land for the construction of this year’s Christmas village as against 4.5 hectares in 2019.
He mentioned further that other Covid-19 safety measures have been put in place like scaling down on activities, spacing of stages, hand washing and aggressive testing of visitors to the Christmas village.
According to him, the state was passionate about improving on its tourism potentials hence will use the 2020 Christmas festival to consolidate on the economic and commercial gains of the 2019 edition which was adjudged the biggest in the country.
He pointed out that last year’s festival provided jobs for no fewer than 2,450 people at the Christmas village who had the ample opportunity to make money for themselves and boost the local economy.
Esin disclosed that the net income generated by kiosk owners and other businesses was put at about N2.5billion within 30 days of the jamboree.
”The Christmas festival added to the economic strength of the state within the period. By January people were able to pay school fees, pay house rent and do all manner of things. I know of three persons who showed to me what they were able to achieve from the Christmas village.
”I believe that the activities at the Christmas village are not just about entertainment and popularity but also to ensure that people are gainfully employed within the period to enable them live well.
”So, the State Executive Council has approved that the 2020 Christmas festival should hold but with strict observance of the Covid-19 safety protocols.
”For the 31 days we will have everyone who comes to the Christmas village fully masked. In with NCDC guidelines facemask will be compulsory, the kiosks, stages and stalls will be spaced and hand sanitizers provided at various places. Strict hygiene will be the order of the day”.
He said the event was open to partnership with the private sector and multinational oil companies, adding that there will be advertising and branding opportunities.
On security, the commissioner said that security intelligence and checks would be at the Christmas village and its surroundings to forestall criminal activities.