Chibuikem Diala aka Hospitality Evangelist is 1st Deputy Coordinator of Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN), Delta State. He recently paid a visit to the newly commissioned Mariam Babangida Leisure Park & Film Village in Asaba, Delta capital and wrote this review of the impressive recreational facility.
Yesterday, I joined the delectable Josephine Ogbolu – GM of Delta State Tourism Board, Asaba in a tour of the brand new Mariam Babangida Leisure Park in Ugbolu (5 mins from Delta State Government House Asaba). Gerrard, GM of Bon Hotels (Transtel) Asaba; Andrew Okungbowa of New Telegraph; Vivienne of Travel Clerk; and other staff of Delta State Tourism Board joined in the tour. I represented the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (Delta FTAN).
It was a beautiful sight to behold. Having worked and lived in Asaba for years, I always looked forward to beholding a children’s park, a heritage site, zoo, recreational centre, etc that could offer residents, and tourists an opportunity to sit out, learn, refresh and renew their minds. This is exactly why I made sure I honoured this invitation. I have come to see Asaba as home and I have been part of the Asaba hospitality and tourism journey.
Before now, Grand Hotel Convention Centre & Resort tried to create a little bit of hospitality with outdoor services attached. In recent times, especially between late 2013 and now few branded hotels like Best Western (Elomaz); Bon Hotels (Transtel); among other indigenous hotels, clubs, lounges & restaurants dot the Asaba hospitality landscape.
Interestingly, the large retail Supermarkets like Shoprite, Gabs, Everyday, Roban Stores, etc have strategically located in different parts of Asaba, bringing along uncommon shopping and dining experiences for families, and for shoppers. With exceptional branding and positioning, the presence of these iconic large-scale retail supermarkets and malls have helped to transform the Socio-economic landscape of Asaba, the proud capital of Delta State. Their impact on human capital and knowledge transfer is no doubt immeasurable and noteworthy.
Kudos to the infrastructural initiatives and development strides of His Excellency Governor Ifeanyi A. Okowa whose giant and forceful strides in the area of infrastructure and growth have carved significant niche for Asaba to navigate through as a traditional urban city to an emerging cosmopolitan city.
Many, especially those of us who have seen at least a decade of development in Asaba will agree that Dr. Okowa’s strategic efforts has enhanced access to the capital city, increased business opportunities, heightened ease of doing business and above all helped to reduce unemployment.
Despite all these, a befitting recreational facility was lacking. That gap needed to be filled. It was not, until now by the good efforts of the Delta State government. The Mariam Babangida Leisure Park is best described as phenomenal, massive best in class and thrilling with activities and games for all ages. Whatever your age is, there is a place for you at the park- young or old.
The park has children’s playground, thrilling rides, wave pool, massive artificial lake for exhilarating rides, lawn tennis, game house (indoor games), observation tower, restaurant (500pers capacity), and well laid out reception area. Lots of outdoor games, large environment to walk around (hand in hand with friends and loved one watching nature and dreaming fresh dreams.) More like a place where new dreams are birthed.
The tour which lasted over 3 hours seemed endless. The Zoo was captivating. Beautifully laid out and well constructed housing varieties of animals, birds, reptiles and many more. I counted over 10 different species of birds (pelicans, ducks, stork, etc.) Guess I saw an eagle too. Hope am right.. I also beheld living Chimpanzee, Monkeys, different species of snakes, alligators, and then the oga kpatakpata of them all – a lion. Yes, a lion…
The very amazing sight was seeing a live Zebra spotting it’s usual dominant brilliant white and black colours. Oh my God. A visit will humble you. There is so much to see and learn from one park. Please, start planning your weekends ahead from now.
THE DELTA FILM VILLAGE
We continued our tour to the next facility within the precinct of the park – The Delta Film Village. I dubbed it ‘Deltawood’. With a 21st century studio, 400 capacity amphitheater, a guest house, epic village, hostel and administrative Block, ‘Deltawood’ is born.
As a tourism enthusiast and hospitality evangelist, I bear witness today that this project is a courageous move towards ending unemployment in Nigeria. This is a model worth replicating in other regions of Nigeria.
I can imagine the many talents that will eke out a living here. I can imagine the humongous contents that will be churned out of ‘Deltawood’. Imagine the knowledge transfer, the technology sharing, the promotion and marketing that exist.
Before now, there was a consensus among key tourism and hospitality enthusiasts of the need to design and construct a best in class recreational/leisure park to accommodate and complement a growing city like Asaba and environs. The role recreation, leisure and sports play in communities need not be over-emphasized. They help in work-life balance, improving the health and well-being of individuals, contributes to personal growth and above all promote inclusive communities.
So, folks, tour operators, families, tourists travellers, slay mamas, etc, that dream, that consensus has come to fruition. You are welcome to groove it, enjoy, relish it and pay for the services. Businesses survive when everyone pays his bill.
I have no doubt that the bumper crowds will hit the Mariam Babangida Leisure Park soon. I endorse this facility and I welcome you whole heartedly to ‘My Asaba’ – the proud capital of Delta State.
6 responses to “Review of the New Mariam Babangida Leisure Park & Film Village”
Reading your article has greatly helped me, and I agree with you. But I still have some questions. Can you help me? I will pay attention to your answer. thank you.
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