• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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Akinboboye boosts Nigeria’s 2030 tourism agenda with multiple offerings

Akinboboye boosts Nigeria’s 2030 tourism agenda with multiple offerings

Wanle Akinboboye, founder and president of La Campagne Tropicana, Forest and Beach Resort, has never disguised his passion for his country and tourism. It was this passion that propelled his return home from the United States of America over three decades ago to turn around Nigerian tourism and make the country a choice tourist destination.

Since birthing La Campagne Tropicana, Forest and Beach Resort in Ikegun Village, Ibeju Lekki axis of Lagos State, he has never dropped the ball but kept giving his all to making the resort attained the height it has reached today, as the most sought-after and multiple-awards winning African-themed resort.

Achieving success and global acclaim has been intentional and aided by his proclivity and creative ferment for brand differentiation, products development, his tenacity and consistency staying the course. These are factors that have made Akinboboye and his La Campagne brand to stand out in the Nigerian and global tourism circles.

Akinboboye is fascinated by the idea of building, developing and promoting tourism products. This he has successfully accomplished over the years by creating and turning every latent tourist attraction in sight into tourism products, thereby creating destinations that not only stimulate the senses and sensibilities but offer opportunities for tourists to explore to their fullest and gain immersive experience from the destinations and products.

This is one major drawback for the Nigerian tourism market, as the inability of both the private and public sector operators to turn the vast and unique tourist attractions across the country into multiple destinations, as other thriving destinations across the world have done and as the example of La Campagne brand has shown.

Akinboboye has over the years lamented this lack of foresight and creative instinct as well as mercantile or commercial appeal that has left Nigerian tourism poorer year on year and the operators on their back foot while other countries that are less endowed with both natural and manmade attractions as Nigeria, reap bountifully and even turning Nigeria into a major source market for their tourism business.

Weary of the development, Akinboboye towards the end of 2023 graciously offered to come to the rescue of the country by promising to unlatch 52 tourism products from his rich tourism products repertoire within a period of one year. He started on this noble course in October 2023, with the unveiling of a tourism product weekly.

For him, embarking on this course is not just driven only by his nationalism and patriotic conviction but also the need to lift Nigerian tourism from its underperforming level to a thriving one and to create opportunity for the development of a successful tourism business and market for the country, with particular reference to the teeming young Nigerians, who are now beginning to see life in tourism and becoming tourism entrepreneurs.

Between October and December 2023, Akinboboye unveiled 12 tourism products from his repertoire for the benefit of the Nigerian market. The tourism products are: DNERP (Diaspora Nigeria Economic Recovery Programme); YATE; Kamp Afrika; CAER; Building Bridge; Yoru’ Bar; Beach Safaris; Scuba Diving; HURP (Hope Unity Rebirth Prosperity); Motherland Beckons’ Heed The Call; IPADA; and IPADA Carnival.

The most important thing in the new enterprise of Akinboboye, who himself is a multiple-awards winner and Africa’s tourism icon, is the fact that Africa’s destination is his horizon, using Nigeria and Lagos in particular, as a base for reaching out to the world.

This is the philosophy behind his Continent Building Project through Motherland Beckons, which over the years has given birth to various activations and tourism products that Akinboboye has introduced into the market. His belief is that Africa and Nigeria should target the Diaspora market, with the aim of attracting over 50 million people yearly to the continent and Nigeria by extension, to have an immersive experience from the numerous tourism products.

“We believe that if Dubai with less than four million people (population) and zero Diaspora population, could achieve so much, then the whole of the continent of Africa should be able to record a minimum of 50 million people, putting together all tourism products available across the continent,’’ noted Akinboboye.

Speaking further, he said, ‘‘We are not asking for handouts, we are asking them to come and take advantage of the vast opportunities in Africa. We are giving them open opportunities, for them to have an easy connection to the entire continent that will be championed by Nigeria.

‘‘They will be using Lagos State as the gateway, being the biggest economy in Africa, and the largest concentration spot in Africa, it is the gateway to get people of African descent and lovers of Africa to connect with the continent.’’

All of the 52 tourism products to be released by him have the potential to create multiple activities or adventures that will offer memorable experiences for the people and by extension add value to the economy of Africa, especially growing the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through tourism.

It is in this regard that he spoke glowingly of IPADA Carnival, one of the 12 products so far released by him, which according to him, is multi-dimensional and offers the opportunity for Africa to fuse into one big market for the people to harvest rich excitement.

“We are targeting a minimum of 50 million people annually that will be coming to the African continent through Nigeria, taking advantage of our deep seaport at Lekki.

‘‘We are transforming slave ships to cruise ships and then luxurious airlines. Now, we are celebrating our prosperity, our resilience, our growth, our development, and our contribution to the world economy.

‘‘At the end of the year, there would be a huge harvest, a celebration of that Motherland Beckons’ Heed The Call, and a huge harvest of the celebration of heeding that call, ‘IPADA.’’

This is coming as efforts at revamping Nigerian tourism are being made, given that new Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy have been created, with the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy targeting $100 billion contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2030, then now is the time to embrace noble and practical ideas and agendas that will actually grow Nigerian tourism and the creative economy.

The first practical step towards achieving the agenda is what visionary Akinboboye has offered through his 52 tourism products now making the rounds weekly. Both Lola Ade-John, Minister of Tourism and Hannatu Musawa, Minister of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy, need to step out of their shadows and embrace Akinboboye’s vision.

They both need to seek out operators of like minds who are serious and determined to put Nigeria on the global tourism map to synergise and produce a roadmap that will drive Nigerian tourism and the creative economy, with the private operators at the centerpiece, while the government through the two ministers create the enabling environment for the agenda to be operationalised.