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Cote D’ Ivoire looks to replicate Nigeria’s La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort in Grand Bassam

…as Mayor signs pact with La Campagne

La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort in Ikegun Village, Ibeju Lekki Local Government Area of Lagos State has over the years earned a reputation as the best African themed resort where nature and man co-existence in peace and harmony amidst sophisticated facilities exuding opulence and enchanting blend of Africa cultural elements.

The reputation of Wanle Akinboboye, the founder and president of La Campagne, as a passionate entrepreneur, investor and tourist destination developer, has preceded him far and wide, with tourists, investors, governments and others across the globe not only visiting to feast on his unique offerings but also to seek for his partnership in extending his creative ferment to their climes.

The latest in the impressive roll call of people seeking a replication of his expertise in their climes, is the Mayor of Grand Bassam, Cote D’ Ivoire, Mayor Jean Louis Moulot, who is also the director general of all the airports in his country. He visited the resort last week in the company of his ambassador to Nigeria, Traore Kalilou and other officials.

It was his first visit to Nigeria and also the resort. But it was not for leisure rather for serious business; to hold strategic discussion with Akinboboye and see how his expertise or magic wand can be explored for the benefit of his community.

He got away with handsome gift in his kitten as he signed a strategic partnership pact with Akinboboye on developing the vast tourism potentials of Grand Bassam by turning it many tourist attractions to tourist destinations in the same way as he has turned things around at La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort and other businesses to his credit.

Read also: White Deck Beach Resort boss urges govt to support tourism sector

This, no doubt, is a great feat by the Mayor and a show of the commitment of using tourism as both economic and development tool for the advancement of his city and his people. It is also a way of boosting the offerings of the country as the leading Francophone destination and economy in the region and a look in as one of the serious minded tourism cities in Africa.

As well, there are lessons to learn from the action of the Mayor of Grand Bassam, who has to come all the way to Nigeria to seek partnership and help in developing his city’s tourist attractions into viable tourist destinations.

One sector that has been greatly impacted by COVID – 19 since its outbreak in December 2019, is the tourism sector, with global destinations shut down and businesses at standstill. Nigerians are noted for their penchant for international travels but since the outbreak of COVID -19 that has drastically reduced.

The National Association for Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) lamented the sad development in a recent figure showing a drastic drop in ticket sales released by it.

According to it, ticket sales for international travellers in Nigeria recorded about 31.4 percent slump in 2019, compared to 2018 estimates. N360 billion was recorded as total sales figure for 2019; a N165 billion difference when compared to N525 billion ($1.5 billion) recorded in previous year.

While many are lamenting this development, however, Akinbobye says it is time for Nigeria to ‘take advantage of its advantage’ by latching on the negative effect of the pandemic to turn attention to developing domestic tourism, noting that Nigeria can make double of what its nationals spend on tickets alone in international travel on the domestic scene.

‘‘The lack of distractions in Africa’s tourism sector presently because of the advent of COVID -19 will definitely boost domestic and national tourism within the continent of Africa because of challenges associated presently with international travels,’’ he says.

Following the partnership deal struck with Grand Bassam, he discloses that: ‘‘Forward looking, proactive leaders like the Cote d’ Ivoire Ambassador to Nigeria and the Mayor of Grand Bassam, will be the ones to reap the humongous benefits of this particular opportunity.

‘‘Mayor Jean Louis Moulot’s visit to the resort is also the first time he is visiting Nigeria. With this visit, Cote d’ Ivoire is showing the way forward for Africa’s collaboration and development.

‘‘If the public sector leaders can take a cue from this, tourism will begin to grow in Nigeria. The public sector needs private sector to invest, manage and develop tourism.’’

One of the quick fixes, he says is for urgent steps to be taken by Nigeria governments across the three levels to begin to invest in turning the various tourist attractions in their respective domain into tourist attractions by developing them and creating economic activities around them for the benefit of the people and boost the nation’s economy and Gross Domestic Products (GDP).

The present state of most of the tourist attractions across the country, he says cannot attract any tourist both domestic and international, therefore, cannot yield sustainable income or economic activities for the people.

Until concerted efforts are made to employ the right mechanism, investors, tourist experts and developers as the Mayor of Grand Bassam has done, the story will remain the same as those attractions would remain lifeless attractions and not of interest to anyone, he insists.

According to him, what makes attractions become destinations is when their potentials are developed and economic activities built around them to attract tourists who in turn spend money whenever they visit the destinations, thereby empowering the people who in turn become meaningfully engaged.

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