A Letter To His Excellency, President Bola Tinubu 

By Otunba Olawanle Akinboboye 

Tourism Icon, Otunba Olawanle Akinboboye, Founder, La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort writes His Excellency, President Bola Tinubu.


24 May 2024


The President of the Federal Republic of Nigerian
Aso Villa
Yakubu Gowon Crescent
The Three Arms Zone
Abuja, FCT


Attention: His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu,


Your Excellency,


Need to retain the Ministry of Tourism as a stand alone Ministry and related matters


Firstly, I would like to congratulate you for the many brave and painful decisions you have taken with regards to your efforts to turn – around our economy. I would also like to complement you on your willingness to consider the views of others in making plans for the development of our great country.

As a tourism practitioner of over 40 years experience and having built from scratch La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort , a world reknown African tourism facility ; when you first assumed office, I was particularly excited when you correctly identified tourism as a possible game changer in terms of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings and employment of youths .

I must however admit that I was a little skeptical about your commitment to growing the Nigerian tourism industry based on the actions of your predecessors, all of whom, at various times, acknowledged the role of tourism in growing our economy but frankly did little or nothing to put in place a framework to actually develop a viable tourism industry for Nigeria.

Subsequently , I realised that my skeptism might be unwarranted when you proceeded to establish a stand alone Ministry of Tourism.

This was a drastic departure from your predecessors, who since 2006 had merged responsibility for Tourism with responsibility for ‘culture’ and ‘national orientation’ .

The sheer breadth of the resultant Ministry’s mandate , in my humble opinion , guaranteed that it’s Minister would be unable to successfully grapple with the challenge of turning Nigeria into a tourism destination of choice , which transition is required if we want to grow an economically beneficial tourism industry in Nigeria.

This lack of focus had therefore meant it was not possible to take ‘advantage of our advantages’ by growing an industry that leveraged off Nigeria’s natural features, vibrant history and the warmth and hospitality of its people.

As a country , we are blessed by amazing and varied geographical features, a rich history and a resilient population who are eager to welcome visitors . It should therefore be possible to build a tourism industry that is capable of rivaling other sectors in terms of its foreign exchange earning capacity and job creation .

However to do this , Nigeria needs to create a framework that enables the country offer world class tourism destinations and experiences to discerning international and domestic tourists .

A key step in this journey involves identifying the current status of existing tourism sites, many of which are government owned and putting in place plans for converting such sites into what I refer to as tourism destinations.

In this regard it will also involve entering into partnerships with credible local investors to arrive at destinations that leverage off the uniqueness of our culture and heritage.

In this regard, it is important to note that if one truly wants to attract tourists you cannot simply offer up a geographical feature ( the tourism site) – for example a waterfall. You have to surround it with items that encourage the tourist to stay and to spend like accommodation, restaurants , sporting activities, local crafts etc. It is at this point that the site can be incorporated into tourist packages that can be marketed to local and international tourists because they offer more experiences than simply viewing another waterfall, however beautiful.

I would also like to mention that calling for foreign investors to develop the sector is unwise as such investors will merely seek to replicate what is available elsewhere. This will unwittingly reduce the uniqueness of the Nigerian experience and the interest of the tourist as he can easily experience such facilities elsewhere or even at home. I mean why should anyone travel and expend significant money to stay at a pale version of a hotel brand that is a replica of the hotel brand in his home town?

Given the relative youth of the Ministry and its leadership as well as the multiplicity of potential tourism sites in Nigeria, the ground work required for Nigeria to become a tourism destination of choice is not something that I believe can be achieved in less than a year.

Consequently, any assessment of the Ministry of Tourism under it’s current leadership should take account of this fact . The government should also not be hasty in taking a decision to merge the Ministry with any other Ministry, as this will ensure the focus required to build a viable and economically profitable tourism industry in Nigeria will be lost.

At this stage I think it is necessary to mention that I am impressed by the fact that having taken the bold step to create a stand alone Ministry of Tourism , you then took steps to appoint a youthful and business focused person to head the Ministry.

The Minister in question was already well known in the financial and IT sectors and had overridden any gender biases to perform credibly in her industries .

It was therefore not surprising that you felt she was the right person to head a Ministry that would oversee the evolution of a sector that was scheduled to become a major income earner for Nigeria.

I am particularly impressed by the fact that she and her team are currently visiting existing tourism sites and obtaining a first hand impression of what needs to be done to transform them to tourism destinations. Despite constant invitations to her predecessors, she is the first Minister overseeing the sector to visit my facility ; La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort Ikegun, with her team.

From our discussions I can see she has the passion to push the Ministry in the direction it needs to go. I am hopeful she will realise that , although most of our tourist sites are owned by government it will be cheaper and more cost effective for government to transform them into tourism destinations in partnership with the private sector .

While some may argue that since it’s creation approximately 10 months ago the Ministry is yet to position tourism for phenomenal growth and so should either be scrapped or merged with another Ministry, I would argue that the incumbent Minister does not have the advantage of building on a sound foundation created by her predecessors. She is , in effect, charting a new path and she should be allowed sufficient time to show the public the fruits of her labour in this regard.

I would like to emphasize that my comments on the Minister are simply being advanced in response to your request that Nigerians should give feedback on the individuals you appointed as Ministers.

I realise that Nigerians are impatient for results but as a person who has first hand experience of the time it takes to build a tourism brand and attract tourists I felt I would be remiss on my part if I failed to provide feedback on this issue.

As a patriotic Nigerian, who have spent my life building tourism in Nigeria and who does not confine my efforts to words alone , I am excited by and am prepared to contribute my quota towards driving an explosive growth in our tourism sector .

I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this letter and to consider my thoughts on the Tourism Ministry and it’s Minister.

Yours faithfully

Otunba Wanle Akinboboye

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