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Nigeria can become world tourism powerhouse – Kakanfo Inn CEO
Aug 12, 2023 / Comments / by The Punch Newspaper
The Chief Executive Officer of Kakanfo Inn, Ibadan, Damola Are, has said Nigeria is blessed with a natural ecosystem and potential to become a world tourism powerhouse. Are, who stated this during a courtesy visit to PUNCH Place on Friday, explained that with the right infrastructure like good road networks and jetties in place, it would be easy for investors to access many resort areas with recreational benefits.

The hospitality expert added that the industry was a source of foreign exchange earnings and noted that if things were done properly, hospitality and recreational centres in the country would compete with their counterparts around the world.

He also stressed the need for the government to consider running a diversified economy rather than a mono-product economy with near total dependency on crude oil.

Are stated, “Hospitality itself is a source of foreign exchange. I have seen places from Ibeno Beach in Akwa Ibom State, to Ikogosi warm spring (in Ekiti), and several places on Victoria Island and Lekki in Lagos.

“I have seen beachfront in the Caribbean and the like. You look at them and see that they are not better than Ibeju Lekki, Ibeano Beach, Obudu Ranch and the like, but the  latter are underdeveloped.

“The government should be investing in infrastructure to make someone like me want to go the extra mile to complete the job. If the road reaches where it is supposed to reach, it will be easy for me to buy land in ocean front locations presuming that we have jetties.

“You can have the lagoon-type housing and bungalows built on the water and those are the kind of things that I am interested in because I think we are the next tourism destination if we build on this.”

Speaking on the recent expansion and improvements at Kakanfo Inn, Are, who has over 30 years’ experience working at and managing hospitality outfits in the United States of America and Nigeria, said, “My first class product, which is labelled the K-collection, which has now just been completed, is as good as any first classroom, suite and villa anywhere in the world. So, a certain percentage of our businesses is an NGO business as we have rooms for the NGOs, which are smaller and more compact. Likewise for our corporate clients.

“When you get to our K-collection, we have two types of units: the basic unit with more amenities than the hotel rooms, and then, the presidential villas, which have luxury kitchenettes for people who have extended stay.

“Apart from that, you have the exclusive amenities with access to certain paths, including our lounge, complimentary use of the Spa and the luxury lines of rooms. The furnishings in those rooms are high-end.”

He added that the 35-year-old facility domiciled in Ibadan and established by his father, the late Chief Lekan Are, had a very high-maintenance culture and was being run with the motivation that goes beyond sustaining his father’s legacy.

“There is a personal angle to it as well from my standpoint. That’s why when I wake up every day, I have every reason to want to continue. Not just continue; being that I am a competitor, whatever he did, I wanted to do better,” he stated.


Published with permission

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Until 1970, Ibadan was the largest city in sub-Saharan Africa