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TOURISM PRODUCT OF THE WEEK NO. 27 IS BEACH POLO, SAYS, TOURISM ICON, OTUNBA WANLE AKINBOBOYE

On: April 14, 2024 - In: News - No comments

TOURISM PRODUCT OF THE WEEK NO. 27 IS BEACH POLO, SAYS, TOURISM ICON, OTUNBA WANLE AKINBOBOYE

 

Tourism icon, Otunba Olawanle Akinboboye this week focuses on the need for the continent of Africa, to take advantage of its advantages, by focusing on tourism products that leverage off “our access to this large expanse of sand. With Nigeria alone, having over 884 km of sandy beaches.”

 

According to him, the product he spoke about last week;Ijoko Yanri‘, took advantage of the sand to create seating. In line with this, he would be talking about another tourism product; ‘Beach Polo’, which could leverage off the country’s access to sand.

 

He explained that Beach Polo is a variant of a well known sporting activity known as ‘Polo’ or ‘The Game of Kings’, a sport synonymous with grassy paddocks and wealthy men wielding mallets on the back of charging horses.

 

He mentioned that, Polo had a reputation for being a rich man’s sport and accordingly, a particularly luxurious lifestyle had grown around the sport and the events it hosted.

 

There was also the belief that the sport provided access to the highest echelons of society. Consequently, it gave young persons from less elitist backgrounds the opportunity to gain access to connections and networking by undertaking activities related to that sport. These activities included horse grooming and maintenance as well as the provision of services at the luxury events that occurred when polo teams competed with each other.

 

 

 

Otunba Akinboboye noted that, in Argentina, which is a major polo playing nation, there have been many instances when young farm workers had been catapulted into the world of the rich and famous due to their skills as polo players and which skills, they acquired while looking after the horses owned by polo players. This had led to their becoming valued members of the international polo circuit, who flew around to participate in polo teams put together by wealthy owners.

 

In support of his assertion, he noted that Porfirio Rubirosa Ariza, who was a noteable polo player in the 1940s and 50s, married and divorced two of the richest women in the world; Barbara Hutton (the Woolsworth heiress) and Doris Duke (the American Tobacco heiress)

 

While many Nigerians have heard of ‘ Polo‘, only a few are aware of a variant of the game known as Beach Polo.

 

Otunba Akinboboye explained that unlike ‘Polo’, which is played on grass (turf), beach polo is played on sand. In both of these sporting activities, players are mounted on polo ponies and use mallets to hit a small hard ball through goals on either side of a pitch. A game of beach polo, however, consists of two three-player teams as opposed to the usual four-player teams in field polo. Beach polo, is also played on the sand, in an area that is enclosed by four foot sideboards that are designed to keep the ball within play.

 

Otunba Akinboboye noted that beach polo is becoming an increasingly popular sporting activity globally.

 

He then spoke about the beach polo clubs in countries as diverse as the USA, Australia, New Zealand and India. He also mentioned that there are international beach polo tournament circuits with international tournaments taking place across the globe.

 

He referenced the fact that between 10,000 to 15,000 people watched the Beach Polo World Tournament that took place in January 2024 in South Beach Miami USA.

 

Otunba Akinboboye noted that the organizers of these beach tournaments marketed it as a life style event and spectators were eager to mingle with the rich and famous associated with this sport.

 

He also mentioned that a Beach Polo Tournament took place annually at Eko Atlantic Lagos, while La Campagne Tropicana had established a beach polo club in December 2021.

 

Otunba Akinboboye mentioned that if more beach polo clubs are created in Nigeria, it would be possible to create a league that would regularly hold tournaments.

 

 

 

These tournaments would generate jobs while providing entertainment for thousands of polo enthusiasts. He also referenced the fact that conventional polo tournaments in Kano, Kaduna, Zaria, Jos, Ibadan and Lagos were popular with people of all works of life and were well attended during the Polo season.

 

Otunba Akinboboye felt it should be possible to replicate the current enthusiasm for polo in Nigeria, for beach polo. This would introduce an alternative sporting activity that could provide an interesting and exciting sightseeing activity for domestic and international tourists. Nigerians who are interested could also participate in the sport and increase the range of activities they undertake for rest and relaxation.

 

While Otunba Akinboboye conceded that the outlay for establishing a beach polo club may appear costly, in reality most of the ponies used belong to the players / members and are maintained by them.

 

Consequently, the existence of these clubs would involve limited monetary outlay by their founders, while providing employment for the communities in their locality, as workers would be required to muck out the stables and feed and maintain the horses.

 

He then pointed to the fact that there were people in Northern Nigeria, employed as, what is termed ‘Doki boys’, who care for and regularly ride the polo ponies their employers buy and ride during polo matches.

 

The fact that these tournaments are presented as life style events would also generate catering and other jobs for people in the surrounding communities and help contribute to their overall economies.

 

 

 

Otunba Akinboboye once again pointed out, his major reason for embarking on the exposition, of the weekly tourism products series, “it is my intention, to address all the possibilities available to grow Nigeria’s nascent tourism and leisure industry. It is therefore the choice of an individual, who is interested in becoming a tourism entrepreneur, to identify the product(s) that he or she feels best placed to present,” he said.

 

We hope you enjoyed hearing about this tourism product and look forward to being enlightened on the other products that can be used to start and grow a tourism business in Nigeria.

 

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