It seems more good things are happening in the world of tourism in Nigeria, in spite of the harrowing challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 situation.
In the past year, with lockdowns and international travel restrictions, attention shifted to domestic tourism as the Naija7Wonders team embarked on a series of informative and educational Zoom conferences which had various members from the Tourism 100 Club make presentations, showcasing a wealth of destinations within the country.
One of those places spoken of by several panelists was Ado-Awaye, a town in Oyo State, famous for its hill (Oke Ado) on which there is the Iyake Lake – a suspended lake which has often been touted as the only one in Africa and one if two in the world. The destination has become a favourite hiking route for millennials, and the Ado-Awaye community today can smile as it has benefited from the patronage and promotion of these young tourism professionals with the electrification of the community.
This development was made know by Tourism 100 member (Naija7Wonders), David Atabo of ComeMakeWeGo Africa. According to Atabo, when he initially started marketing Ado-Awaye with his team, as a great hiking destination, a core of their plan was to ensure the possibility of overnight stay in the destination.
There were challenges to that, but undaunted, they were prepared to confront them. With his team, they met the managers of the two motels located in the community. The meeting led to the improvement of facilities at the properties, with new bedsheets, curtains, cleaner toilets, etc.
According to Atabo, “We donated dozens of waste bins which were strategically placed around the destination to ensure tourists keep the destination clean.”
However, electricity was still an issue. So, they had to negotiate with the motels to run their power generating units from 7pm-12am whenever we brought a guest. That arrangement, however was not viable in the long run.
“This didn’t make sense in the long run.” Atabo said, “Tourist gets uneasy after 12am.
Also, hike in petrol price made it uneconomical for the motels to run.”
Looking for another solution to the electricity issue, they made contact with the royal father of the community, HRM Oba Revd. Ademola Olugbile Folakanmi, Makuledoye II, Iludero I (Alado of Ado-Awaye) and embarked on a partnership to sort out the problem. Letters were drafted to stakeholders and several meetings were held over time.
Eventually, there is electricity now in Ado-Awaye and David Atabo has this to say, “Thanks to the Oyo State Governor, Engineer Oluseyi Makinde, who understands the value that can be generated from tourism if well harnessed by the state.”
Furthermore, he expressed gratitude to the paramount Traditional Ruler of Ado-Awaye, HRM Oba Revd. Ademola Olugbile Folakanmi (Makuledoye II, Iludero I) and the Araromi LCDA.
“We at ComeMakeWeGo Africa believe that any development can only be sustainable when the locals themselves understand and accept it.
And this, of course, has been displayed by the cooperation of the King and the people of Ado-Awaye.”
Atabo also thanked every tour operator who had brought in hikers into Ado-Awaye, remarking that “everyone you brought was a reason why the electrification of Ado-Awaye was made urgent and acted upon swiftly.
“Thanks to the tourists who have visited Ado-Awaye while it was in darkness. Now, there is light.
Let’s #RestartTourism at Ado-Awaye.” Atabo added.
In conclusion, Atabo stated that, “Ado-Awaye is peaceful, has good roads, now, there is electricity. Imagine what you can do when you visit Ado-Awaye. Visit Ado-Awaye and see the light! He urged.