By Orville Williams
With consistent calls for increased African representation throughout the diaspora, one hotelier is looking to bridge the gap between Lagos and St John’s.
According to the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Lionel Hurst, the founder of La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort in Lagos, Nigeria, Otunba Dr Olawanle Akinboboye, is in discussions with the government to develop a similar resort in Antigua and Barbuda.
Although the discussions are in the early stages, the project is likely to be located at Willoughby Bay – on word from the Cabinet – and will be developed at a cost of US$20 million.
Located in the Ikegun Village, Ibeju-Lekki, La Campagne Tropicana is a four-star resort described as being “entirely African-themed”, with a welcoming combination of local African culture and modern sophistication.
It has been widely commended by travel and tourism heavyweights for its devotion to rich African concepts, including architectural design, as well as its approach to ecotourism. Dr Akinboboye has also been singled out for praise, with his dedication and innovation in African tourism sought by several other African countries.
Antigua and Barbuda could benefit from his brand of innovation, particularly with him being credited – through developing the resort – for transforming the small Ikegun Village into an international destination.
Founded in 1984, the resort has since received several industry commendations. In 2013, it was named the best resort in Lagos at the Travellers Awards Nigeria and the best beach resort in Nigeria. In 2014, it was voted the best beach resort in West Africa at the Akwaaba African Travel Market (AFTM).
More recognition followed in 2015, with the award for the best theme resort in Nigeria from the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the African Travel Market and Tourism Personality Award from Paceworking and the Tourism Personality Award for Dr Akinboboye from the organisers of Akwaaba. The resort also received the Best Serenity Award from Hospitality Watch in 2018.
As part of Dr Akinboboye’s vision, the La Campagne franchise is also set to expand within Nigeria, to Koton Karfe in Kogi State, Refuge Island in Lagos and Idanre in Ondo State, as well as to African countries including Côte d’Ivoire and Ethiopia.
The founder has also spearheaded various other tourism initiatives in the Republic of Benin and Ghana, and inked a medical tourism partnership with one of Turkey’s foremost healthcare groups.