Kayaking, Is Tourism Icon, Wanle Akinboboye’s Tourism Product of the Week No 34


Tourism Icon, Otunba Olawanle Akinboboye noted with a smile that the Tourism Product discussed last week (Mountaineering / Rock Climbing) related to a category of tourism known as ‘adventure tourism’ and that he would, this week, discuss another tourism product ‘Kayaking’ that falls into the same category.

The Tourism Icon said that, unlike mountaineering / rock climbing which involved hills, rocks and mountains, kayaking takes place on water. This means that the product could be offered wherever a body of water is located, irrespective of whether it is a river, a lake or a man made water attraction. As a matter of fact, one could also kayak in the sea, and sea kayaking has become a popular way to get up close and personal with Orca whales in Vancouver, Canada and in Alaska.

Otunba Akinboboye then mentioned that, although many might think of adventure tourism as something targeting foreign tourists alone, it actually provides a welcome addition to the domestic tourism market, as it offers Nigerians an opportunity to do something different, to rest and recreate at weekends and on public holidays.

Otunba Akinboboye noted that, in the USA, many people do activities like camping, hiking, fishing, kayaking and rock climbing at weekends or during their vacation periods, in what they term, ‘the great outdoors’.

According to an outdoor recreation economy report issued by The Outdoor Industry Association (of the USA), outdoor recreation accounts for 6.1 million direct American jobs, $646 billion in direct consumer spending each year, $39.9 billion in federal tax revenue, and $39.7 billion in state and local tax revenue.

The report also noted that outdoor recreation participants spend $86 billion annually on watersports (kayaking, stand-up paddling, rafting, canoeing, and motorized boating), the second highest revenue stream, with camping in the lead at $142 billion.

Otunba Akinboboye noted that Nigeria with a landmass of 923,768 square km, and a population density of 236.58 people per square kilometer is blessed with wide open spaces and varied terrains that would facilitate a number of adventure tourism products.

Although Otunba Akinboboye acknowledged that many Nigerians are wary of water, he noted that provided precautions are taken, such as wearing the appropriate safety gear (life/ floatation jackets) while kayaking, they have nothing to fear.

Otunba Akinboboye then revealed that the word ‘kayak’ comes from an Inuit word meaning “man-boat” or “hunting boat.” The Inuits, or “Eskimos,” live around Greenland and use kayaks made from animal skins stretched over wooden or whale-bone frames for transportation, hunting, and fishing. The kayaks used in the tourism industry however are usually made of Polyethylene (a type of plastic) or fibre glass.

He then mentioned that Kayaks are normally propelled by distinctive paddles with three main parts; the shaft, the power face, and the back face. The power face is the side of the paddle blade that catches the water when you take a forward stroke. From tip to tip paddles vary in length from seven to eight feet, and the blades come in different sizes as well.

Kayaking is one of the best exercises for upper body and core strength. If done correctly, which means one paddles by rotating one’s upper body rather than using one’ s biceps only, the impact on one’s body can be seen in a very short time.

Otunba Akinboboye mentioned that his Resort; La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort offers Kayaking as part of the water sport activities conducted in the fresh water lagoon that borders the Resort. This gives guests the opportunity to go close to the mangrove trees that borders the lagoon and observe monkey and other wild life, which includes at least two different species of kingfisher.

Otunba Akinboboye mentioned that based on what he had seen at the Resort, he could confidently assert that the enthusiasm for kayaking is not limited to any particular age group.

He also mentioned that, although some guests are initially a little scared when they first set off in a kayak, within a very short time they become comfortable and often wanted to go kayaking more than once during the course of their stay.

Otunba Akinboboye then noted that the international canoeing federation recognizes and endorses over 250 competitive canoe competitions globally that follows their rules, regulations and procedures. These include the Lake Placid International for Canoe Sprint and Canoe Marathon and the Wildwater Canoeing Soca International.

He also noted that he looks forward to the time that Nigerians have a proliferation of locations offering kayaking so that it could become a recognized competitive sport in the country.

However, he recommended that people learn to Kayak even if they aren’t interested in achieving a competitive level as he considers it an extremely relaxing and healthy activity.

Otunba Akinboboye hoped that hearing about this product would encourage young tourism entrepreneurs to consider offering the product and increasing its availability for both domestic and international tourists.

He emphasized that the more interest young people show in offering diverse tourism products. the more Nigeria’s tourism industry would grow.

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