Revue:‘Why Only Cultural Heritage Can Boost Tourism’
… As La Campagne Set To Grow In Koton Karfe
TT WAS historic day on this fateful Sunday for the people of Koton Karfi community in Kogi State as they played host to the team of La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort management led by the president and founder, Otunba Wanle Akinboboye.
The team was hosted by the Ohimege Igu, Koton – Karfe, Alhaji Gambo Abdulrazak Isa – Koto in his palace, which witnessed a mix of glamour and cultural entertainment on the day. The occasion was to formalise the birth of La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort in the community and the presentation of Certificate of Occupancy (Cof O) site and survey plan for the 90 hectares of land, approximately 270 acres of land that the community has donated for the building of the resort.
Addressing the emir and his people, Akinboboye, disclosed that the development was not only gratifying but a historic event given that 30 years after La Campagne berthed at Ikegun Village, near Lekki, Lagos, as a solely African themed resort, the people of Koton Karfe is the second community to realise the importance of having La Campagne resort in their midst and had graciously gone ahead to donate an expanse of communal land for the project.
He underscored the uniqueness of the African themed resort, which he said is focused on promoting African cultural values and tradition, insisting that when people come to Africa and Nigeria by extension, they have come to experience the culture of the people hence he said:
‘‘We must take our culture and polish it and then take it into our hotels and resorts but we have so far failed in doing this and the people (tourists) are disappointed when they come because we only treat them to the cheap imitation of their own culture,’’ adding that ‘‘it is only when you get other people to buy into your culture and experience it that you prosper and your culture endures.’’
Akinboboye noted the enormous economic benefits of hinging tourism development on the country’s culture, saying that ‘‘when you build around your culture, you will empower your people.’’ Therefore, he said that the emir should be commended for his foresight and dedication to the welfare and development of his people and community.
It is the empowerment of the people that the emir is promoting through the La Campagne project. The prosperity that will come to Koton Karfe will come from the visitors from the various parts of the world because we are going to build the resort around the culture of the Koton Karfe community,’’ he said, adding that ‘‘the advantage will be for the people of Koton Karfe because they are the owners of the culture.
It is when you take advantage of your advantage, which is your culture that you have advantage over others. Nobody can promote your culture more than yourself and that is what we want to do with Koton Karfe culture,’’ he stressed ,even as he disclosed that the community would be the one to drive the project as it will create employment for them in every spheres.
He drew reference from the Ikegun Village where the resort in the last 30 years has brought tremendous physical and economic developments to the people with over 80 per cent of the personnel drawn from within the community. ‘‘Eighty per cent of our staff are from Ikegun Village and they have been enriched and empowered through the services of the resort to the extent of having their own personal houses and many other economic benefits
‘‘That is the biggest advantage that you can have in life because people have come to purchase your culture,’’ he said as he further explained that it is the same kind of cultural economic enhancement that he intends to bring to the Koton karfe community through the invitation of the emir. ‘‘That is what the emir has called me to do in Koton Karfe, to bring prosperity to the people,’’ he said.
However, he insisted that there is some work to be done, ‘‘we will make our environment very conducive for them to visit us and spend their money but to do that we need to polish our culture. The emir is the first royal majesty in Nigeria that has realised that this is important for his people and have therefore invited us to come and do this here.’’
He ended his presentation on an emotional note as he revealed that that fateful Sunday was his birthday and it is always his tradition to celebrate with his family but that he has put that on hold to be with them .to finalise talk on the project as a demonstration of how important the project is to him and his faith in its ability to bring about transformation and prosperity to the people just it has been for the people of Ikegun community and hopefully would in Cote d’ Voire too where work is ongoing.
In his remarks, the Ohimege Igu of Koton Karfe, Isa–Koto took time to educate his people on the importance of the project, which he said is a mutual partnership between the community and La Campagne and that hopefully, it would serve as catalyst to opening up the tourism flank of the community, which he said is well endowed and therefore, urged his people to embrace the project and ensure that it comes on stream as projected.
Also, he gave assurances to the La Campagne team that the palace and the community are solidly behind the project and would do all within their powers to see to its fruition. Furthermore, he said the choice of the community is a good one because they have all the required features, especially in the area of culture that would promote tourism and enrich the experiences of tourist to the community.
We have one of the best cultures and traditions that can compete with any in the world, he said, adding that ‘‘we have also all the things that you need in abundance, this place is a market and it is a very good location and a very good partnership that we are evolving today. We have the best culinary and we also have one the best and sweetest fishes in the world.
Ebira has a very unique culture and tradition and it is one of the safest communities. My people are very hospitable, disclosed the emir while emphasising to his people that the expected benefits from the project are for today and for tomorrow even as he expressed how eager he is for the project to commence because the benefits cannot be quantified,’’ the monarch said.
Christened La Campagne Tropicana River Resort Koton Karfe, the ground-breaking ceremony is expected to hold before the end of September.