Research Key

Challenges and Opportunities of Sustainable Tourism development in Cameroon; case study the Bakossi National Park in the South West Region

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Tourism and Hospitability Management 
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International: $20
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The study is on Challenges and Opportunities of Sustainable Tourism development in Cameroon; case study the Bakossi National Park in the South West Region. BNP is having a lot of potentials that can attract tourists such as the different species of Flora and Fauna, Mountains, Hills, Waterfall that may contribute to the growth of the Bakossi National Park and its adjacent communities.

However, the Bakossi National Parks and adjacent communities are not developed that is poor transportation network, poor infrastructures, poorly managed recreational activities, environmental pollution and evidence of negligence.

Due to the above mentioned challenges it has made visitation of both international and national tourists difficult to discover the potentials of the Bakossi National Park and its adjacent communities.

The objective of this study are; to examine the potentials for sustainable tourism development in the Bakossi National Park and its Adjacent communities, to assess the impacts of sustainable tourism operations management in the Bakossi and its adjacent communities, to identify opportunities and suggest strategies for boosting sustainable tourism operations management in the Bakossi National and its adjacent communities.   

The study implemented the description survey design to collect qualitative and quantitative data. A major finding is about sensitizing the people about the BNP and its adjacent communities.

The study revealed that the main challenge faced  in the BNP is poorly managed recreational activities are now in their involvement stage and a major recommendation was that a good campaign should bring the ministry of tourism and leisure and the management authorities so that they can come up with good rules and regulations and create a concept on how to implement of the Bakossi National Park.



Chapter one comprises of general introduction, background of the study, statement of the problem, research questions, research objectives, research hypotheses, study area, scope of the study, significance of the study, outline of the study and operational definitions of terms.

1.1 Background of the Study

sustainable tourism development can be traced back to the 1950s when tourism development obtained community support and its economic advantages were largely recognised (Perdue, 1990).

Until the early 1970s, academic recognition was concerned predominantly with the positive impacts of tourism. Early studies featured mostly economic prospects and emphasized these benefits (Jafari, 1990).

However, with the growth of mass tourism, people began to identify negative impacts of tourism development. Mass tourism started before the 1970s, Ap, (1992) found that sustainable tourism development resulted in both negative and positive impacts.

During this period (1970s), a number of cautionary statements about the benefits of the tourism industry appeared. From then, organizations began to hold diverse opinions about sustainable tourism development in their communities.

Sustainable tourism (ST) development helps enhance economic opportunities, protect the natural and cultural heritage and advance the quality of life of all concerned. Sustainable tourism leads to an increase in jobs and income in local areas (Makamea & Boonb, 2008).

According to World tourism Organization (WTO), (2006) sustainable tourism employs about 200 million people around the world as tour guides, employees in the hotels and as owners of restaurants. Moreover, sustainable tourism contributes about 15.2% of the income to the local community. Sustainable tourism is regarded as a source of foreign exchange.

Most of the tourists visiting destinations are of international origin and therefore provide foreign exchange for economic development, as it is in many countries (Eagles et al., 2002 cited in Makamea & Boonb, 2008).

According to Hall (2008) sustainable tourism development present change that maintain a high level of tourist satisfaction and ensure a meaningful experience to the tourists, raising their awareness about sustainability issues and promoting sustainable tourism practices amongst destinations in Montenegro (Gasic, et al., 2014).

Sustainability is also a key strategy in the management of national parks in Montenegro.

This is especially important for the northern region of Montenegro, which has not only achieve a balanced regional development, which is established in all strategic development documents in Montenegro, not only in the declarative but in the essential sense.

National parks are the product of the positive impact of sustainable tourism on the environment because of the venomous potentials like: visitor centers, counters for Information, offices, space for camping, parking, roads, trails, utilities, and many others and activities such as: hiking which are offered by national parks but this tourism potential of the northern region has not been sustainable managed because of problems (Jankovic, 2017).

The problem of having a seasonal and relatively limited range of tourism activities, as one of the most significant obstacles to improving sustainable tourism services (Smolovic et al., 2018).

Obenaus, (2005) Australia is blessed with many national parks which are visited by tourist all year round. To ensure tourist continual visitation of the national parks, they government and tourism operators have adopted management plans to ensure their sustainability.

For example, the management operations been done at Gesause national parks in Australia to foster sustainability of the park are: rising educational levels of the locals where the national park is found, importance of service quality in national parks for ecotourism sustainability, proliferation of travel options and parks and protecting areas are created in order to conserve natural habitats from the development around it.

Australia faces several problems implementation of sustainability operations management activities such as: conflicts of interest among several management authorities for protected areas, the lack of clear guidance for protected areas management, an insufficient budget, the shortage of professional experts, the lack of public participation, the conflict between management behavior and commercial profit behavior and conflicts between protected areas management and local communities (He & Cliquet, 2020).

Sustainable tourism is undoubtedly a key feature in Kenya’s economy and is consider as a powerful tool for boosting economic development (Okech & Bob, 2009).

The management operators are taking measures in environmental care by avoiding waste generation through burning of waste, providing garbage bins and waste disposable bags in vehicles, burying trash, educating both staff and visitors on proper waste disposal while on game drives, encouraging the use of re-usable/ recycle packaging and bio-degradable materials as well as giving the visitors a copy of conservation notes so as to ensure sustainability of their national parks (Okech & Bob, 2009).

Sustainable tourism operations in national parks like the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is the protection and conservation of ungulate wild species which is benefiting the locals in terms of revenue, employment, increase in the number of tourists, increased tax income and investment are supplemented by the spin-off benefits (Onchwati, Sommerville & Brockway, 2010).

National Parks in Kenya faces several challenges which include the need to respond to local community development and aspirations, meeting visitor’s varied expectations, improving management and planning efforts as well as developing effective and efficient infrastructure and services (Okech & Bob, 2009).

Cameroon is recognized as one of the most important countries in Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of forest biodiversity, hence the need to create protected areas to guard forest resources (Mbtatu, 2016).

There are several hunting operational reserves in the country including: Dja, Waza, Kalamaloe, Douala Edea, Santchou, Korup, Benoue and Bouba-Ndjidah. Sama, & Molua, (2019), the principles of sustainable tourism in Cameroon are carried out on a number of levels; regional, local and by agreement with the Cameroon Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife to promote and protect national parks/forest reserves.

The common tourism activities carried out in national parks and forest reserves in Cameroon which can be develop sustainably are: recreational games like birth watching, hiking, safari tours, mountain climbing (common in mount Cameroon) among others.

The protected areas in Cameroon faces challenges in practice of sustainable forms of management operations like, illegal hunting and poaching, limited finances, neglect/ non participations of the locals in sustainable operations management of protected areas and under/over exploitation of some protected areas in Cameroon.

There is a similar scenario with the Bakossi national park as they practice sustainable tourism operations and activities like birth watching, jump tracker and recreational games but are still faced with problems of sustainability.

1.2 Problem of the statement

Sustainable tourism operations are able to provide enough revenue to enhance environmental conservation while also providing a primary source of job creation for residents (Weaver, 2009). Hence, tourism potentials for tourism development are a crucial input to tourism planning and decision-making (Huh & Vogt, 2008).

Sustainable tourism is an important instrument used for contribution to preservation of the natural landscape and offers a solution to the poverty problem commonplace in underdeveloped regions.

In addition, it produces a structure utility for the economic development and political progress of the local population, providing a resource for training of the visitors and for preservation Aciksoz et al., (2010).

Unfortunately, these continues to be evidences across destinations in the country where sustainable tourism operations are not well developed to boost tourism development in addition to the lack of existing research to stimulate awareness on this subject.

The problems facing the Bakossi national park for sustainability are related to Limited sensitisation programs and knowledge about potentials found in Bakossi national park, poor infrastructure, particularly transportation network, environmental pollution, natural resource degradation, evidences of neglect, no direct access into the park by the locals, non- residents’ involvement in top management and daily running of the park, lack of integration of the local community in the protected area management project.

Erol, et al (2011) added that national parks faced problems that like: administration and legislation problems, improper planning, limited baseline data, inappropriate uses such as unregulated tourism and limited resources prevents the carrying out of sustainable tourism operations.

If these challenges are not properly handled, it will lead to the following consequences to the Bakossi National Park and its adjacent community.

The consequences are: under exploitation of the site of the national park, degradation, abandonment and neglect of the Bakossi National Park, locals will develop poor attitude of sustainable operations of the national park, a reduction in production and price increased in transport fare due to poor road and poor development of the national Park. 

There is little research on sustainable tourism operation on national parks in Cameroon especially on the Bakossi National Park. The few studies that have written about national parks in Cameroon are Forje, (2021) who studied “Determinants of ecotourism development in and around protected areas the Campo Ma’an National Park in Cameroon”, Abbot, et al., (2001) focused on “Understanding the links between conservation and development in the Bamenda Highlands, Cameroon” and Etapo-Esay & Kolle, (2020) who focused on “Perception and Attitutes Toward Sustainable Tourism in Cameroon Among Cameroon Tourists. Case of Korup National Park”.

This is because most researchers have neglect sustainable tourism development even though sustainability is the watch word of the day when it comes to biodiversity protection in national parks and forest reserves.

It is only recently that the attention of researchers has been drawn to the issues of sustainable tourism operations. The study of Forje, (2021) and Etapo-Esay & Kolle, (2020) have identified determinants and locals’ perceptions and attitudes toward sustainability have little substantiated.

But no studies have worked on its challenges and opportunities of sustainable tourism operations management of the Bakossi national Park and its adjacent communities. These research gaps and deficiencies comprised the rationale of the present study and will be addressed in depth.

1.3 Research Questions

1.3.1 General Question

What are the challenges and opportunities of sustainable tourism operations management in the Bakossi National Park and its adjacent communities, south west region of Cameroon?

1.3.2 Specific Questions

1) What are the different tourism potentials in the Bakossi National Park and its adjacent communities?

2) How has sustainable tourism developed to impact the Bakossi National Park and the adjacent communities so far?

3) What are the constraints to sustainable tourism development in the Bakossi National Park and its adjacent communities?

4) How can sustainable tourism development be significantly improved to fully exploit the existing opportunities in the Bakossi National Park and its adjacent communities?

1.4 Research Objectives

1.4.1 General Objectives

To examine the challenges and opportunities of sustainable tourism operations management in the Bakossi National Park and its adjacent communities, south west region of Cameroon.

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