Calabar — The organisers of the annual "Carnival Calabar" have disclosed that 25 countries from Africa and other continents are billed to participate in the 2017 edition of the festivals.
Making the disclosure wednesday in Calabar during a press conference, the Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Events Management, Mr. Ken Aklah, said the number of countries expected to partake in this year's event was more than 14 that featured last year.
He indicated that some of the countries that featured last year were South Korea, Brazil, Morrocco, Tanazania, South Korea, South Africa, and Kenya, among others.
Aklah said the increased numbers of countries participating in this year's event is an indication that the annual event was growing bigger and better.
He said a live audience of 264 million viewers watched the carnival last year via the social media, and 55 countries also watched the on DSTV in 2016.
"What we are selling is experience, which is the latest innovation in tourism marketing and tourism is the only product that you need to get to the source to enjoy and that is what we intend to achieve with Carnival Calabar.
"A lot of content has been added and more exciting event introduced and for a product to last for more than a decade there need to be innovation and this means it will attract more audience, we want to increase the tempo of the product we have already created," Aklah said.
He disclosed that some new innovations have been added to this year's carnival and the 32 days festival, among which is the "Black African Festival."
Aklah said the new additions would create veritable platforms for both local and international artiste to perform in a bid to give local content of breath of life.
He also commented on the introduction of the Wonders of Wheel, saying "On the streets alone we have about 800,000 people watching it and we have also introduced the wonders on wheels as part as an added value to allow tourist see vintage cars."
Also speaking, the organiser of the Africa Beauty Queen Pageant, Mr. Tom Ikpeme, said artistes expected to perform at the various shows and events are Mafikozolo from South Africa,Tuface, Davido, Timaya, and Teckno.
The chairman of the state carnival commission, Mr. Gabriel Onah, said this year's Carnival Calabar is being packaged to meet the best of standards that would attract tourists from all over the world.
Onah said though some private investors and the state government have been sponsoring the event since it commenced, the organisers were working assiduously to ensure that the event becomes commercialised.