This research work is divided into five chapters. It highlighted on beach tourism in Nigeria, a case study of Elegushi Beach Resort, Ikate Kingdom in Lagos State as well as other parts of the world. Chapter one discusses about beach/coastal tourism generally all over the world with particular reference to Nigeria. The challenges being faced for sustainable tourism, how beach tourism has a low recognition in Nigeria, the objectives of this research, the methods of data collection and analysis, the scope of study as well as its significance and relevance to Lagos State in particular, the nation as a whole and also to all lovers of tourism and beaches. The limitation of study was experienced and discussed in the course of study and the explanations of terms relating to beach tourism. Chapter two laid emphasis on theories used for this research work and its relevance to the work. Chapter three centers on the background information of Lagos State, Ikate town In Eti-Osa Local Government, its climate and vegetation, the socio-cultural, political and economic activities of people of Lagos State and the genealogy of Elegushi royal family. Chapter four went further to highlight the activities and operations of Elegushi Beach, the problems being faced in that beach resort, the strategies for developing and managing it as well as the implications of beach tourism on the host community. Chapter five summarized the whole thesis, recommended/suggested on what to do for sustainable beach tourism in Nigeria, and the conclusion followed suit. It is hoped that this research work will serve as a guide to lovers of tourism and beaches.
Tourism is an indispensable tool for development in the country if not the whole world. Despite some of its negative effects on the environment, it is still the devil people cannot do without. A man should ever be ready booted to take his journey whenever tourism is mentioned. Tourism industry is one of the fastest growing industry employing hundreds of millions of people worldwide which explains the reasons why study of tourism and tourism research have become so important in not only the academic field but also for the economy on the whole.
Beach tourism also known as coastal tourism and recreation are important parts of the largest and most rapidly growing activity in the world (Houston, 1995). This topic embraces the full range of tourism, leisure and recreational oriented activities that take place in the coastal zone and the off shore coastal waters across the world/globe. They include coastal tourism development, for instance, the hotels, resorts, restaurants, food industry, vacation homes, second homes and so on, the infrastructural facilities supporting coastal development like retail businesses, marinas, dive shops, fishing tackle stores, recreational boating harbors, beaches, fishing facilities, boating, cruises, swimming, snorkeling and diving as well as public and private programmes affecting the aforementioned activities (Houston, 1995).
However, the relationship between coastal areas and tourism is as old as tourism itself. Early tourists favoured seaside locations and made journeys to fashionable resorts to bathe in sea water to take advantage of its alleged curative powers. This was a major departure in the eighteenth century from a time when the sea and coast were revered as places and even feared (Lenček and Bosker, 1999). For them, “the beach historically speaking is a recent phenomenon. In fact, it took hundreds of years for the seashore to be colonized as the preeminent site for human recreation and the coast continues to be one of the most important environments for tourism in contemporary times building on its established heritage”. Hall and Page, (2005) observed that;
“The coastal environment is a magnet for tourist although its role in leisure activities has changed in time and space, as coastal destinations have developed, waned, been reimaged and redeveloped in the twentieth century. The coastal environment is a complex system which is utilized by the recreationist for day trips, while juxtaposed to these visits are those made by the domestic and international tourists”.
Beach tourism is becoming a highly competitive business as nations actively seek to draw increased numbers of visitors and increased foreign earnings to the shores. However, given today’s rapid pace of communication, the existence of poor water quality or degraded or eroding beaches is quickly communicated among networks of travel agents and others in the tourism marketing business. Despite increased awareness of the economic and environmental significance, it is only in recent years that a substantial body of research has emerged.
Furthermore, beach tourism is considered to be one of the fastest growing areas of present day tourism which is epitomized by the ‘3Ss’-sun, sand and sea. In order to create safe, stable and attractive coastal environment with clean waters and healthy coastal habitats, it is necessary to develop well managed and sustainable beach tourism.
Wong (1993), argued that “it has been established that tourism is environmentally dependent and the unique character of coastal environment gives to various types of tourism development. While there is increasing recognition of the coastal environment as a tourism resource, there is also the need to consider the sustainability of the environment as it continues to open up to the full gamut of tourism activities”. He pointed out that although there are many studies on coastal tourism, they tend to emphasize the tourism system rather than the interaction of tourism and environmental systems.
Tourism and recreation-related development is one of the major factors shaping development patterns in coastal zones of the nation and the world. Indeed, virtually all coastal and ocean issue areas affect coastal tourism and recreation directly or indirectly. Clean water, healthy coastal habitats, and a safe, secure and enjoyable environment are clearly fundamental to successful coastal tourism. Similarly, bountiful living marine resources (fish, shellfish, wetlands, coral reefs and so on) are of critical importance to most recreational experiences. Security from risks associated with natural coastal hazards such as storms surge, hurricanes, tsunamis and the like is a requisite for coastal tourism to be sustainable over the long term.
Nigeria is a country situated in the western coastal region of the African continent. The country is rich in natural beauty like long blue beaches, rivers and lakes, forest, breathtaking views of the waterfalls and soothing environments. She also offers a wide variety of tourist attractions such as extended and roomy river and ocean beaches ideal for swimming, water sports activities as well as other cultural and man-made attractions particularly conducive for holidaying. Unfortunately, these natural resources have hardly been developed for tourism. Because it is a coastal country, the main attractions for the tourists are the long beaches and marine activities but the direct contribution to coastal economies made by cleaning up coastal water is often not fully recognized. But it is hardly surprising that sustainable development remains such a challenge to beach tourism destination in Nigeria. Of all the activities that take place in coastal zones, none is increasing in both volume and diversity more than beach tourism. Both the dynamic nature of this sector and its magnitude demand that it be actively taken into account in government plans, polices and programs related to the coasts and ocean. Beach tourism constitutes a strong force (both positive and negative) in shaping coastal areas and national economies, yet it is not seen as a reputable sector requiring policy, planning and management attention and resources because of lack of data collected and aggregated under this heading. Beach tourism in Nigeria is still growing because most of these beaches, sea, lakes, rivers, streams and so on have turned to be hideouts for kidnappers, militants, terrorists and criminals. Additionally, in these riverine areas, the beaches, lakes, ocean and creeks are used as places for refuse dumps, defecation, and centres to commit all sorts of crimes. Also, spoilt ships and boats are usually abandoned in the ocean thus causing problems in the ocean and health hazards for the nation. Nigeria is considered to be abundantly blessed with water resources. Human welfare and economic development generally depend on the use of water. Millions of Nigerians rely on surface water sources to meet their domestic needs. Yet, pollution discharge into the surface water by individuals and industries go on unmitigated, unregulated, and unpunished due to weakness in the existing laws. The three levels of government, the Federal, State and Local Government should share responsibilities for water resources management. Also, the importance of leisure and recreationally motivated development in the coastal zones in Nigeria tend to be neglected, under managed, underrated and understudied.
In Lagos State for example, the people of Ikate are yet to know the importance of the natural and cultural attractions that they are blessed with. They do not really know much about beach tourism and values of the attractions there such as the Elegushi Beach and efforts are hardly made to maintain it. So, this research is simply pointing out how efforts should be made towards promoting beach tourism in Nigeria. This research work provides a review of some of the coastal and marine tourism literature emphasizing on the impacts. It notes the manner within which tourism is a component of integrated approaches towards coastal management and some of the strategies that are utilized to manage tourism in a sustainable fashion. These and more will be discussed about beach tourism in Nigeria, a case study of Elegushi Beach, Lagos State in the chapters of this research work.
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Coastal tourism is very important in Nigeria and the whole world because of its rapid growth in economy. Despite that, there is lack of attention by public agencies to tourism and this is usually problematic in the case of coastal tourism. In Nigeria, there is usually no coordination between programmes that promote and market tourism and those that manage coastal and marine areas. Integrated coastal management often tends to be done only among environmental planning agencies. On the other hand, agencies dealing with the promotion of tourism are not involved with evaluation of its effects or with advance planning and management of the adverse impacts of tourism through avoidance, mitigation and compensation strategies (Cicin-Sain, 1993). One of the greatest challenges facing coastal managers in the developing countries is how to integrate tourism development within the ambit of integrated coastal management and increase the likelihood of long term sustainability (Cicin-Sain and Knetch, 1998). This situation is observable in Nigeria too. Because of negligence, most of the rivers, lakes, ocean and beaches and other water resources have turned out to be hideouts for kidnappers, terrorists and most times serve as refuge or escape route for unscrupulous characters while some people use the waters and places as their public toilets, places for sewage disposal and abandonment of rickety ships and boats. All these scare people away from visiting all these attractions like beaches, lakes and rivers.
Other challenges facing beaches in Nigeria include the dirty and unhygienic environments as lots of them lack adequate toilets and refuse disposal facilities, lack of adequate safety and security measures. The lack of required modern infrastructural facilities in some parts of the country, acute conditions of underdevelopment and poverty can be seen which many potential tourists may not like to be confronted with. Although coastal tourism constitutes a strong force in shaping coastal communities and local, regional and national economies, it is generally not seen as a reputable sector requiring policy, planning and management attention and resources in Nigeria. This is due to the fact that information and data tend not to be gathered and aggregated under this heading. Hence, the magnitude and importance of leisure and recreationally motivated development in the coastal zones of Nigeria tend to be underrated, understudied and under managed.
This has led to its underdevelopment as a tourist attraction and most of its tourism resources are still in their natural state. These and other related issues constitute what this research work sets out to address. It is hoped that at the end of the research exercise, the misconceptions about beaches and other water resources being used as hideouts for terrorists and kidnappers and water pollution and so on would have been erased and people will not be scared of these places. . Having mentioned all these problems, the following question readily comes to mind. Of what importance are the beaches and other attractions to people of Ikate town and other Nigerians?
It is pertinent to note that tourism industry cannot grow in a particular area if all the mentioned problems and others are not tackled since, there will be no development.
1.2 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1) What is the role of the government and the private sector in developing beach tourism in Nigeria?
2) Of what benefits are the natural and cultural attractions especially the beach to Ikate kingdom, Lagos State?
3) How can the beach and the environment be preserved, conserved and maintained?
4) How could developed beach tourism grow the economy of Lagos State?
5) What should be the level of community participation in developing Elegushi Beach?
1.3 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
The objectives of this research are as follows:
i) To identify the natural (beach) and cultural/man-made attractions in Ikate town, Lagos State, as well as to ascertain their origin.
ii) To study the tourism potentials of beaches in Lagos State for tourism development.
iii) To identify the strategies for developing the resources including the Elegushi Beach.
iv) To highlight the role of government and the private sector in the development of the beaches for tourism promotion.
v) To show the conservative mechanisms for preserving beach tourism resources as well as the ecosystem.
vi) To determine the level of community participation in developing the Elegushi Beach
vii) To identify the basic impacts of beach tourism to tourism development generally.
1.4 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
Research methodology is referred to as the methods the researchers use in performing research operations. In the course of this research, the researcher made use of qualitative approach to generate detailed information from the host community. The researcher established cordial relationship by coming in contact with the informants in Ikate kingdom especially the Elegushi family, workers from the Ministry of Tourism and Inter-Governmental Relations, Lagos State and the Sea School as at the time scheduled. Because of this, tour guides were introduced to take the researcher round for exploration. Qualitative approach used here is concerned with the assessment of attitudes, opinions and behaviours. It is aimed to gather an in-depth understanding of the behavioural patterns of the host community and reasons for such behaviours.
1.4.1 RESEARCH DESIGN
The research study is designed to focus on beaches in Nigeria, all the coastal/riverine areas as well as other water related activities in the country with special interest to Elegushi Beach, Lagos State. This place is chosen because Lagos State is one of the coastal areas in Nigeria and known to have so many beaches because it is mostly surrounded by ocean, lagoon, rivers, creek etc and experience influx of fun seekers or tourists in that area.
The research study is structured to elicit information on the operations and activities of Elegushi Beach and the importance of Sea School to beaches and water related projects for effective management of not only beaches but lakes, rivers and so on. The research work is descriptive and semi-structure in nature since the researcher made use of interview guide to achieve this aim.