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Published on : Saturday, November 23, 2013
As countries are getting serious about tourism and are developing and restoring their tourist sites with huge multiplier effects, Nigeria seems to be on the path towards destroying one of its most popular tourism legacies (The Lagos Bar Beach) and the memories it holds.
The Bar beach on Ahmadu Bello way, Victoria Island is officially closed to the public, don’t let the colourful kiosks and huge boulders fool you, its no more for lounging by the sea, collecting sea-shells, swimming (if you are that brave), religious, traditional and other entertaining activities.
Any attempt to walk towards it, sometimes just as soon as you’re alighting from your car, security personnel tell you to leave in no smiling manner, demanding you go to Elegushi Beach, a smaller beach, some kilometres away, if you wish to enjoy that beach experience.
Disappointed, people leave. Eko Atlantic City project is on (the land reclamation actually started in February 2008 with a seven-year dredging operation planned to create 8,000 square metres of new land every day but was officially declared last year in a glitzy ceremony including Bill Clinton, former President of the United states) and Bar Beach is part of it. Cranes, bull dozers and other construction equipments littered all over the beach line shows active work in progress and dashing the hopes of fun seekers still visiting hoping to savour some tranquil moments or just gaze at the beach for motivation etc
With a total area of 923,768 square kilometers, land area of 910,768, with water – 13,000 square kilometers and coastline 853 kilometres, the country indeed has abundant tourism potentials from our beaches dotted all over the country but these prime spots are rarely harnessed, from Lekki to Oniru beach, the story is same.
With the World Tourism Organization [WTO] estimation that tourism accounts for up to 10 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP), making it the world’s biggest and fastest developing industry, are we not circumventing tourism’s potential to contribute significantly to GDP?
Bar Beach means a lot to people who belong to the age bracket of mid 30’s and above. Its where a lot of childhood fun took place. A prime tourist and entertainment spot in the 80’s and 90’s, it became a permanent fixture on people’s social calendar. Many a memories were made there. Alhaja wunmi Mohammed in her mid 50’s, a beach visitor, is of the belief that the Eko atlantic city project could have been built without taking that huge chunk of Bar Beach.