The 2021 summer holiday seems to have come too early for many Nigerian families that are used to travelling abroad for summer vacations at this time of the year. Although the world is gradually easing off border closures and restrictions, there are still a lot of discomforts and hassles with international travels.
In some countries, there is still outright ban on international visitors while others like the United Kingdom have put in place stringent conditions for entering their countries.
However, while the COVID-19 could be said to be a great disaster for tourism, most especially domestic tourism in 2020, that could not be said to be the case this year.
Nigeria with more than 200 million citizens is the largest source market for many international destinations in Africa. That is the reason most destinations always focus on Nigeria to boost their tourism traffic.
In 2017, according to the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), Nigerians spend about $1.4 billion dollars on air tickets alone.
Also, according a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) data, Nigeria spent about $9.01 billion (N3.24 trillion) on personal foreign travels (also known as Personal Travel Allowances, PTA) in 9 months (January – September 2019). The figure for 2020 would obviously go down drastically due to international lockdown of destinations and countries as a result of the pandemic.
While there are so many things to write about negative effect of COVID-19 on tourism business in 2020, Nigerian resorts are currently enjoying a certain lease of life as a result of the current situation in the world.
Faced with stringent requirements or outright refusal for visits by countries, many Nigerian families, for this summer holidays, are turning to Nigerian destinations for their holiday. Many beachfront resorts in Lagos are currently have favourable all week occupancy rate.
Beach resorts in Lagos and some eco-tourism sites in the country are currently enjoying this new boon.
One of the nature beach resorts that has created opportunities for families to have a healthy and fun filled summer holiday is La champagne Tropicana, Ikegun, Lagos few kilometres from the proposed Dangote Refinery and Lagos Free Trade one at Ibeju Lekki. Others include Casa Ilashe, La Manga Luxury Beach Villa, Sencillo Beach House, all in Ilashe Island, Lagos.
However,La Campagne seem to be creating greater buzz in the leisure circle.
It is an African themed beach, lagoon and forest resort located in Lagos Nigeria. With over 65 acres of palm-fringed white sand beach, lagoon and mangrove forest providing ample opportunities for visitors to observe, at close quarters, a wide variety of tropical Flora and fauna that include palms, mangroves, various species of epiphytes, monkeys, squirrels, bats, and various species of birds such as kingfishers, sea hawks, egrets and ducks our resort is no doubt a nature lover’s paradise.
From the gate, one is driven into the beach resort on a tricycle. As the resort becomes closer, one could distinctly hear the rumble of the ocean waves as the roll towards the sandy beach. There are signs of rain cloud in the sky. That informs the restless breeze that was making woozy sounds on one’s ears.
The resort boasts of a clean beach, lagoon and mangrove forest that provide visitors with the opportunity to observe, at close quarters, a wide variety of tropical Flora and fauna that include snake trees, mangroves, various species of epiphytes, monkeys, squirrels, bats, and various species of birds such as kingfishers, sea hawks, egrets and ducks.
Visitors could also explore the mangrove forest, play, bond with families and team members, go fishing in the lagoon or do nothing but relax sandwiched in between the warm sands on the beach, whatever rocks your boat!.
Other favourite pastimes at the resort include having sips of our fresh palm wine or coconut water. There are also opportunities to go on adventure to Explore, fish, kayak, quad biking or just relax in on the beach.
On this day, a young lady in her 30s, with two little kids between the ages of five and two, was busy trying to hold down her cap that the ocean breeze was trying to blow away while also struggling to keep her eyes on her restless children that would rather be allowed to run on the sandy beach.
Further still, a young man on baggy half trousers, a colorful shirt was clutching to coconut with the top outer layers peeled of and a hole made on the top to have access to the coconut water. The ambience is laid back and relaxed. The city and its troubles are far from this natural environment.
La Campagne Tropicana, according to the managing director of the resort, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye seeks to create an African experience for fun seekers without compromising luxury and five-star experience. He said the place has been in existence for more than 30 years and has continued to maintain its pre-eminent position as the top African themed resort.
Most visitors to the beaches are looking for the three’ S’: sun, sand and sea (water). However, in addition to these, Nigerians and foreign visitors have access to pristine mangrove forest with large population of monkeys and a fresh water river that seasonally mixes with the ocean water to create an experience for visitors.
The accommodation are not the typical accommodation that seen in luxury resorts. There are different categories of themed accommodation predicated on African culture and architecture.
First were one storey hut shaped rooms that reminds one of the thatch roofed houses in the villages. They are ensuite with the beds at the top using a winding staircase.
Otunba Wanle Akinboboye, while speaking on the resort’s concept, said Nigerian have no business spending the countries scarce foreign exchange on leisure outside the country.
“I started this place as a young man more than 30 years ago. I had a vision to create a totally African theme resort that gives the true African experience. There is no other place that one could experience what one experiences here. It is a three in one combination. You have the opportunity to experience the African forest with the mangroves. There are monkeys roaming the around the forest.
“There is also the fresh water river in which we have4 created opportunities for water sports like kayaking and so on. We have also built the first floating bed in the world. You can just float on the water the quite fresh water under the sky with no disturbance. It is the first of its kind in the world.
“We have more than sixteen different swimming pools, including the first indoor sweeping pool inside a mud house.
“The leisure offering here cuts across different ages. There is something for every age category to enjoy.
We have the longest swimming pool that winds across world’s longest swimming pool. It is 120 metres, winding through six bars. We try to recreate our society’s every day experience. Beside the beach is the Molue Bar. Molue used to be a notorious mass transport system in Lagos.
“ Also have beach side cabana for relaxation and feel of the beach and nature.”
The resort and hospitality owners in the Nigeria have the opportunity to cement patronage from Nigerian fun seekers with giving them value money services.
One of the fun-seekers called on the resorts managers and owners to up their game to get return patronage. Mr. Hyacinth Ikwuzor who was at one of the resorts visited, said: “Yes, I am used to travelling out of the country with my family at this time. But the COVID-19 protocols are too much for us, so we decided to spend the holiday here. I think it has so far been a good experience. I am hoping for us to have more of this kind of stay in future.
”The beach experience is something fresh and incomparable. I am sure it is good for my health. There are also different options for relaxation.”
Asked about his experience, he said: “It is a new kind of experience for my family. I think the kinds are having a good time. Resorts like La Campagne are having good patronage at this time due to COVID-19. I think they have the opportunity to sell their products to Nigerian leisure seekers. It is not just about the edifices; it is also about the kind of services they are offering. Outside, they don’t joke with service delivery. The staffs are at your beck and call. They pamper us with good services. The resort owners should keep on training and retraining their staff on how to offer such services.