Lagos State Government has said that the six `Eko Theatres’ under construction across the state would be ready before the end of next year.
State Commissioner of Information, Mr Steve Ayorinde, disclosed that the six theatres are located in Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu, Ikeja, Igando and Lagos Island areas of the state.
Ayorinde, who spoke at the recently-concluded All African Music Award (AFRIMA) 2017 in Lagos, said that the construction of the theatres was aimed at boosting tourism and entertainment in the state.
He said that three of the theatres would be commissioned by the first quarter of 2018 ahead of the third anniversary of Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode’s administration.
According to the commissioner, the construction of the theatres is on course and will be ready on schedule.
“The first three of the Eko Theatres will be ready on schedule by the first quarter of next year.
“Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode is passionate about it: He visited the construction site of one of the theatres in Badagry last week and it is about 65 per cent completion level; same thing we have in Alomosho and Ikorodu.
“There are six of them scattered all over the state, but we are sure that the first three will be ready for inauguration before the next democracy day May 29, 2018. The opening will be used to commemorate the third anniversary of the administration, so we are putting much energy on it to have them completed,’’ he said.
Ayorinde said that other three Eko Theatres would be ready by December 2018, adding that Ambode was ready to make tourism and entertainment the hallmark of his administration.
“We are committed to the new economy because we all know what entertainment and tourism brings to table when it comes to revenue and income generation,’’ he said.
Over-tourism needs to be addressed –UNWTO
Anti-tourist protests arising from over-tourism were a wake-up call to the travel industry, said the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Secretary General Taleb Rifai.
According to the UNWTO chief, who spoke at a travel summit along with other industry leaders, last week, diversifying tourist activities, reducing seasonality and highlighting lesser-known destinations could help address the problems of over-tourism which set off a wave of protests throughout Europe this summer.
Calling the anti-tourist movement a ‘wake-up call,’ Rifai said the industry must acknowledge the discontent of fed-up locals and create a more balanced tourism economy, cites a report out of the World Travel Market (WTM) in London.
“Growth is not the enemy. Numbers are not the enemy. The key is to manage the growth sustainably, responsibly and intelligently and use the power of growth to our advantage…We cannot continue to build five-star hotels in three-star communities,” said the Secretary General said during the summit.
Cities like Barcelona, Venice and Amsterdam have been struggling with overcrowding, sowing bitter anti-tourist sentiments and driving local residents to the streets in protest.
Amsterdam, for example, has a population of 850,000 residents, but received 6.34 million visitors last year. That number is expected to spike to 6.57 million by the end of the year, and 7.5 million in 2025, according to the Top 100 City Destination Ranking released out of WTM London.
Meanwhile, behemoth cruise ships which belch out thousands of tourists at a time are blamed for causing over-tourism in Venice, while unsustainable tourist arrivals in Barcelona and short-term vacation rentals like Airbnb are blamed for overcrowding.
Speakers cited countries like Greece as a model example, for their efforts at promoting tourism during the off-season winter months and Mexico, which has been promoting lesser-known destinations and cultural sites to attract visitors off the resort path.
On her part, president of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Gloria Guevara Manzo, opined that the tourism economy can be credited for bringing jobs to Barcelona, which was previously plagued by high rates of crime and unemployment.