Visitors trooping to Cross River State for the 2023 Calabar carnival are struggling to find available hotel rooms in the city.

NAN reports that the 20th edition of the annual carnival which began on 1 December, has lived up to its billing despite the security challenges in Calabar.

Several activities have been lined up for each of the 31 days of the carnival with 28 December slated for the grand finale of the carnival


Some of the visitors who came into the city on Monday described their experience in scouting for hotel accommodation as terrible.

The visitors who spoke with NAN said they were almost giving up in search of accommodation when they were finally able to secure one on the outskirts of the city.

They said they had to make do with what they got, even though it was expensive.

One of the visitors, Adams Adah said, “We thought it would be easy when we came in but we were made to understand that bookings were made earlier by several of those who planned to come for the carnival.

“We moved about for hours before we could secure the one we eventually got last night.”

Mama Obi, who said she is from the state, but resides in Lagos, attributed the scarcity of hotel accommodation to the influx of visitors for the carnival.

She noted that because of the overwhelming demand for accommodation, many of the hotels have increased their room rates.

“As I speak with you, there is no longer any hotel space in the heart of Calabar Municipality. If you are lucky, you can get one around Atimbo, Ikorishi, and 8th Mile or in Calabar South,” she explained.

Similarly, another visitor who identified himself simply as Dan, said he came in on Tuesday morning from Port Harcourt with friends but settled for an apartment he had secured over two weeks ago.

According to him, he came with some friends for the carnival but could not get another space for them in the same apartment as it was fully booked.

“We all had to manage the one I had secured. We were told we would not find any, even normal hotel space except in the outskirts.”

NAN reports that no fewer than 15 states of the federation and Cameroon participated in the cultural event of the annual carnival on Tuesday.

The states that were on the ground to perform at the cultural parade included Enugu, Kebbi, Edo, Rivers, Kaduna, Kwara, Yobe, Ondo, Ekiti, and Akwa Ibom.

The Chairperson, Carnival Commission, Gabe Onah, said that 15 million viewers across the globe are expected to watch the main event live on television on 28 December.

NAN reports that the state had declared 14 days of public holiday for its civil servants for them to participate in the carnival.