Landscape Characteristics of the Lagos Lagoon Waterfront: Perceptions and Preferences for Tourism.
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Lagos.
Landscape is internationally recognized as an important part of any human settlement. Research has shown that landscape characteristics is one of the factors that influence a destination’s attractiveness to tourists. Tourism is a major industry and continues to grow in all parts of the world. Water tourism has not been given adequate attention in Nigeria and particularly in Lagos. Centrally located in the heart of Lagos State, is a major natural and landscape resource – Lagos Lagoon waterfront whose usefulness as a tourism resource is the subject of this research. Although the Lagos Lagoon is one of the biggest lagoons in Nigeria, as well as the largest of the four lagoon systems of the Gulf of Guinea, its waterfront has developed into slums with different blights. Part of the problem has been the lack of stated tourism policy for the area and lack of information on its landscape resources. The study investigated the perceptions and preferences of the landscape characteristics of the Lagos Lagoon waterfront as it affects its tourism development. Using landscape assessment techniques, the landscape of the lagoon was evaluated in context of other factors that influence tourism in the study area. Four Hundred and Twenty two (422) respondents at six locations were surveyed to determine tourists’ / users of water tourism destination’s opinions of the landscape and other issues that impact tourism of the lagoon shores during festive seasons and on public holidays. Twenty six Landscape and tourism experts were interviewed in their offices, using semi-structured questionnaires. A Mapping was done of the landscape of the lagoon. This formed the basis for the photo-questionnaire which showed 20 pictures taken from different points along the Lagos Lagoon waterfront, shown to respondents to measure their landscape perception and preference. The results of the survey were analysed using SPSS version 16. The study developed a predictive model for tourism in the Lagos Lagoon waterfront, in relation to its landscape units, place attachments and social patterns. The model provides policy makers information about the factors affecting landscape resources as they relate with tourism development, especially in the Lagos Lagoon waterfront. The correlation coefficient of determination obtained was (R2) = 0.591; which is the amount of information being explained by landscape units, place attachment and social patterns, about tourism in the model. The model indicated that landscape of the lagoon has the greatest significant effect on its development for tourism. Results revealed that the landscape characteristics of the lagoon is very significant and the slum clearance ranked highest as a deterrent to the development of the Lagos Lagoon tourism, followed by the enhancement of its physical qualities (water, vegetation) and provision of infrastructure. Results also showed a disconnect between the experts’ and the general public perception of tourism status of the lagoon. The recommendation is that there needs to be more public enlightenment and a realignment of priority in land use planning for development of tourism in the Lagos Lagoon. It is also recommended that greater attention be given to the enhancement, development and amelioration of the landscape along the waterfront to boost tourism development in the Lagos Lagoon.