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Arts & Travel

Sustainable Tourism enriches host communities

In addition to the many activities lined up for the 2019 TIDA conference (to take place on 24 April at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), a team of tourism and media professionals recently paid a visit to one of Africa’s most popular destinations, La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort, Ibeju-Lekki.

President and Visioneer of the resort, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye, spoke extensively on the positive impacts of the resort on the community that hosts the resort, while emphasising the fact that Nigeria has a lot to offer in terms of tourism, but has remained insignificant because innate abilities have not been harnessed and language has been made a barrier.

“You can’t imagine the trickle-down effect of tourism. We have 774 local governments in Nigeria, and there is no local government that doesn’t have one attraction or the other that is bigger than all of what people run to do in most countries. The brains and power of the continent resides in the 774 local governments. The geniuses of this world are in the local governments. The only thing that has stopped them is the inability to communicate in a language that is not theirs.”

Going further, Otunba Akinboboye said, “When we came here, there were about 10 or 15 fishing boats. Today there are over 2000 fishing boats now. The number of concrete house in the village was approximately 10 when we got here, now it is over 2000. We even had to build a fence because they were starting to build into the resort.”

Akinboboye, who has a Masters degree in hospitality management, further added that communities that have tourism development usually have relative peace because everybody benefits from it while adding that tourism can be such an effective and engaging tool. 

“You find out that in areas where you build tourism development of this nature, you find relative peace because the people become more exposed; it makes the community a lot more broad-minded. If you pay N1million salary in a month here, for example, 50% of that goes into the community. When N1000 goes into this environment, it is like N10,000. The trickle-down effect to family, friends and associates, all of that play a major role in economic development. What that also does is that it stops the urban drift. It will eradicate to a large extent the issue of Area Boys because when they get into Lagos, they can’t find jobs and then they transform into Area Boys. When they are disconnected from their immediate family, nobody is there to control them. When you create something that can keep indigenes provided for, it keeps things in check.”

Moreso, he added: “When you create wealth, you have eradicated a major percentage of conflict because when people have something to do and they have a particular benefit, they tend to not fight easily because they don’t want to lose their income. In creating  prosperity and wealth directly for the local community, you bring peace.

“The Baale recently thanked me profusely that many of the men here married to more than one woman are experiencing healthier relations among themselves, since the women have become engaged in working at the resort, rather than being at home and doing nothing.”

The organising team also went on a tour of the facility, interacting with members of staff and some of the locals employed by the resort. They included: Femi Lawson, CEO, Skyview Communications; Efetobo Awhana of Avantgarde Tours Ltd; and Deji Akinpelu of CC5 Pebbles Ventures, to name a few.

The conference theme this year is: “Impact of Sustainable Tourism Development and Marketing of Tourism Destinations on Host Communities.”

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