Governor Donald Duke started Tinapa to encourage business and tourism in the state. The first phase of development cost more than $350 million. On April 2, 2007, Tinapa Business Resort & Free Zone, Calabar, opened for business in its initial phase.(Source: ) A roundabout route separates Tinapa from Calabar, a distance of 10 kilometers (6.2 mi), however the federal government is constructing a 2.5-kilometer direct route. Situated on Nigeria's Calabar River, a major commerce hub for West Africa, is the public-private partnership project known as Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort.
Arup offered services in civil, structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering as well as project management, design, and site supervision. Water engineering and feasibility studies also played a big role in the project.
Designing ground storage reservoirs, a reinforced concrete water tower, pumping stations, sewage treatment, and irrigation systems were among the water services provided for the project.
A variety of commercial real estate was incorporated in the resort's first two phases of development, including hotels, an 80,000 square meter shopping center, movie theaters, casinos, amusement parks for kids, and parking lots. The complex also includes three smaller boutique stores and conference and business centers.
Chiller air handling devices are used to cool the vast retail rooms. The cooling system produces chilled water in a separate complex and distributes it throughout the development.
Effective cooperation across Arup's regional offices was essential to this expedited project's timely completion in a demanding commercial setting.
The Tinapa Free Trade Zone has had a hazy legal standing. Although the state government of Cross River owns it, only the federal government is authorized to run a free trade zone. The Federal Government has been urged by former governor Liyel Imoke to invest in the project and to clear up any doubts regarding its status that may be impeding funding. He proposed severing the recreational facilities' connection to the trading zone as one possible strategy.[/3] The ThisDay newspaper reported in February 2008 that the operating procedures and guidelines had not yet received approval from the Federal Government. It was nearly empty at the resort. For fear of being forced to close by customs inspectors, the few staffed shops would not sell their merchandise.* As interest payments on the building's development costs increased, a 2010 CNN report revealed that the complex remained largely unoccupied. The state administration was searching for private sector investors who could manage the project more effectively, Governor Liyel Imoke said to a CNN correspondent.(5)
A Daily Champion report from March 2010 was upbeat. The study admitted that there had been reports of corruption and project abandonment, that there had been bureaucratic delays, and that important infrastructure was still missing. Nonetheless, the study stated that 90% of the facilities and infrastructure were prepared, and stores were offering duty-free merchandise. It further stated that, as anticipated, the resort was being used more and more for official and corporate events.(6) Imoke stated in September 2010 that the government's primary goal was to revitalise Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort.(7)
"Tinapa is dying" was the headline of a Daily Trust article published in May 2011. It stated that the majority of the stores had closed and that other amenities like the movie studio and exhibition space had not been used in a while. The hotel was operational, but it was rarely full. Since the reporter had arrived during a school holiday, only the water park was crowded.(8)
The Nigerian Custom Service started imposing duties on purchases as they were being taken out of the Free Trade Zone in 2013 on the grounds that it was improperly established. After years of neglect, it was stated that the resort was in a state of moribund state and was being repaired in 2020.In
An Intamin-constructed, 1.1-kilometer (0.68-mile) monorail links the resort to the Calabar International Convention Centre. It debuted for business in 2016. It was stated in 2017 that although the system was operational, no people were being transported.