Posted by: beninmwangi | April 4, 2007

Tinapa, Africa’s Best Kept Tourism Secret…

This is actually our first “In the News Commentary” on the Benin Epilogue. And it brings us all of the way to Tinapa, Nigeria. Admittedly, I was not aware that such a place as Tinapa existed in Nigeria. However, given the determination and tenacity that many of the nation’s entrepreneurs embody, I cant pretend to be surprised. For anyone who falls in my category and is not familiar with Tinapa, to say that Tinapa is a city inside of Nigeria’s Cross River State would be an understatement.

Tinapa, located within Nigeria’s Calabar Free Trade Zone, is being dubbed as the next mega business and tourism resort of Africa- north of Cape Town and west of the Masai Mara. One of the main attractions of this destinations is the duty free shopping for tourist and tax-exemption for foreign investors. Already the mega resort has invested $358 m into this ambitious project. This project has not been completed and yet has already attracted the likes of some of the continents top companies-MTN and Shoprite are just two of them. No doubt these companies have done their homework and are there because of the anticipated annual influx of 3 million tourists annually into the region.

What are the implications? Well for an African nation that has not been able to attract a critical mass of tourists, I’d say that this is a tremendous start. Here and there on the web for the last five or sixth months, I have been noticing some stories from Nigeria which somehow were by and large missed by the radar of international media. Primarily, what we are describing are stories coming from Nigerian officials, law enforcement, and business persons pertaining to changing the countries image.

I have said this many times and will say it again that even outside of oil Nigeria seems to be a treasure house for African ingenuity and business potential. In fact, to say that Nigeria could offer investors some of the best opportunities on the continent might not be an exaggeration.

So this project, to me, is a representation of that very notion. It sort of reminds me of the Dubai of Africa. I am sure that many both in and out of Nigeria would see this as much welcomed transformation.

By the way, this post is actually commentary for this Reuters article.

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