In its efforts to boost tourism and passenger traffic, the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) is collaborating with the Whispering Palms, a tourist centre in Badagry.
The idea is to improve tourism patronage and reduce the stress that passengers experience in connecting to the location.
The General Manager, LASWA, Mr Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, made the disclosure during a courtesy visit with some stakeholders to the Whispering Palms on Sunday in Lagos.
Emmanuel said the visit is to deliberate on how the collaboration can be effective.
The Whispering Palms is one of the tourist centres with a history of over 31 years of existence on the waterways in Lagos.
He said the partnership was also to create an enabling environment for such tourist centres to thrive in business.
He stated that LASWA’s main collaboration with Whispering Palms is to see ways in which it can drive traffic and allow its infrastructure which are jetty terminals to be patronized.
“We want our jetties to be avenues through which they can pick customers and all their possible clients while living from our jetties to their own location- Whispering Palm in Badagry.
“In the main run, they should have middlemen who are the boat operators, who will take them from our own jetty terminals to the actual location,” Emmanuel said.
He said that the Lagos State Government under the leadership of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu had been promoting Lagos as a tourist location.
He disclosed that La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort had a stand with LASWA at the Falomo Jetty Terminal, adding that they could collaborate with any of the terminals when traffic occurs.
Emmanuel said the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) would assist the management of the Whispering Palms to get boat operators.
According to Emmanuel, there was a need for the management of the resort to have strategic relationships with different boat operators to enable its customers to have more options.
He advised the management of the Whispering Palms to encourage companies to brand certain sections of the resort to generate more funds.
The Head of Marine, NIWA, Lagos office, Mrs Elsie Egwualu, assured NIWA’s support in encouraging the use of water transportation in getting more customers to Whispering Palms.
Egwualu urged the resort to improve on its online advertisement so that many of its customers could easily access its service on the go.
A tourism officer with Lagos State Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture, Mr Peter Mesewaka, advised the management to extend similar collaboration with Whispering Palms to other players in the industry.
Mesewaka added that such an opportunity would allow the tour guides who serve as intermediaries between the destination and the tourists to also benefit from the collaboration.
“The feelers we are getting after the demise of professor is that Whispering Palms is facing managerial issues that is no longer positioning well.
“There is a need to gather both local and foreign tour guides to come and access the relaunch facilities so as to tell people in the tourism industry,” Mesewaka said.
Mr Hakeem Odusina, Assistant Director, Public Relations, Lagos State Ferry Service Company (LAGFERRY), said the agency was ready to collaborate with the resort.
Odusina urged the management of the resort to take its advert to jetty terminals to make more people to be aware of the new development.
A staff member of SIFAX Ferry Terminal Operator, Mr Felix Omoyele urged the management of the Whispering Palms to use traditional means of advertisement.
According to him, this can be done by visiting the ferry terminals with flyers to enable more passengers at jetties to be aware of the resort.
Omoyele suggested the need for the resort to also embark on jingles in different languages to attract more traffic to the place.
The Managing Director of Savvy Marine, Mr Lekan Taiwo, said he would like to test-run the service by bringing some people to the resort during the next holiday.
This, he said, would also allow him to know the cost of using a ferry to the resort.
In her speech, Mrs Mimi Ade-Odiachi, daughter of Late Prof. Olufemi Pearse, founder of Whispering Palms, who is the managing director, said there was a need to collaborate with water transport operators to enable her to fulfil her father’s last wish.
She said that the visit was to also tap ideas from stakeholders on how they could give customers a good experience at a reasonable price.
“We are still one of the most responsible resorts when it comes to charging because we know that we are in a rural area and we want as many Nigerians to be able to enjoy our facilities, Ade-Odiachi said.
She identified challenges affecting the business to include bad roads, insufficient power supply with the expensive cost of supplementing it with generator.
Ade-Odiachi said that many guests had a phobia of water adding that their collaboration with the NIWA and LASWA with other stakeholders would build customers’ confidence on water transport.
The General Manager, Whispering Palms, Mr Chris Newsom, said that easy accessibility to the locations would enable people to drive down as well as come through boats.
Newsom said that would also enable a different class of people to patronise the resort with low transportation costs.
The Whispering Palms Resort was established in 1991 by Late Prof. Olufemi Pearse, who died in December 2018.
He retired into the hospitality industry to establish the famous seaside Whispering Palms Leisure Resorts located in Aradagun area in Badagry, Lagos.
The facilities at Whispering Palms include restrooms for different classes, a small zoo with monkeys, tortoises, fish, crocodiles, chicken, turkey, and baboon, as well as swimming pools for adults and underage among others.