COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION IN CULTURAL TOURISM DEVELOPMENT AMONGS THE BAKOSSI ETHNIC GROUP
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Cultural tourism is the subset of tourism concerned with a country or region’s culture, specifically the lifestyle of the people in those geographical areas, the history of such people and their art; architecture; religion(s); and other elements that helped shape their way of life. There exist operational limitations that include the centralization of public administration of tourism development, lack of co-ordination between involved parties and lack of information made available to the local people of the tourist destination as attributed to, but not limited to, insufficient data and poor dissemination of information in Tombel. The study seeks to identify the cultural potentials of the Bakossi people in Tombel Subdivision, to assess the level of community participation in cultural tourism development in Tombel Subdivision, to investigate the challenges affecting community participation in cultural tourism development in Tombel Subdivision and to make suggestions that can enhance community participation in cultural development in Tombel Subdivision. The study made use of both primary and secondary data that were obtained through field survey, questionnaires and interviews. Data collected were analysed with the aid of Microsoft Excel Vs 2016 and presented using percentages and tables. Data obtained from the field proved that some challenges were hindering community participation and cultural tourism development in Tombel such as low benefits derive by locals and poor infrastructural development is still preventing the development of tourism in the area, lack of share benefits and lack of awareness. The study recommends that stakeholders should provide more sensitization campaigns to encourage locals to give their full support for cultural tourism development through effective participation. Also conservation education and extension programs should be developed and implemented to improve the relationship between stakeholders in cultural tourism and local people. This will go a long way to promote sustainable tourism development in Tombel.
KEYWORDS: Culture, Cultural Tourism, Tourism Development, Community, Community participation
This study focuses on assessing community participation towards cultural tourism development amongst the Bakossi ethnic group, South West region of Cameroon. The study is structured into 5 chapters .This introductory chapter provides background of the research, it presents problem statement, research questions, objectives of the research, hypothesis, scope, significance of the study and closes with definitions of operational terms. Chapter 2 of the research will focuses on conceptual review, empirical review and theoretical review. Chapter 3 focuses on the research method to be used in other to achieve the stated objectives of the study. Chapter 4, of the study will present field finding base on objectives stated in the chapter1 and Chapter5 cover the discussion of results link to the work of different authors, conclusion of the study and recommendation gotten from the field, from other articles.
Cultural tourism development renders various economic, socio-cultural and environmental changes on the host community’s life, some more beneficial than others (Stylidis et al. 2014). Cultural tourism is the subset of tourism concerned with a country or region’s culture, specifically the lifestyle of the people in those geographical areas, the history of such people and their art; architecture; religion(s); and other elements that helped shape their way of life. It can also include tourism in rural areas showcasing the traditions of indigenous cultural communities (i.e. festivals, rituals) and their values and lifestyle, as well as niches like industrial tourism and creative tourism. It is generally agreed that cultural tourists spend substantially more than standard tourists do (Richards, 2016).Thus, the participation of local residents is imperative for the sustainability of cultural tourism industry at any destination (Gursoy et al. 2010). Understanding the residents’ perspective can facilitate policies which minimize the potential negative impacts of cultural tourism development and maximize its benefits, leading to community development and greater support for cultural tourism particularly, in developing countries, whereby tourism is still at an infant stage of development. Community participation has become a common element in many development initiatives, such as community-based programmes, which assume participatory methods and has been promoted by development organizations, notably the World Bank, to address the inefficiency of highly centralized development approaches particularly in cultural tourism (Baral and Heinen, 2007). Cultural Tourism gives visitors the opportunity to understand and appreciate the essential character of a place and its culture as a whole, including its: history and archaeology; people and their lifestyle (including the ways in which they earn a living and enjoy their leisure); cultural diversity; arts and architecture; food, wine and other local produce; social, economic and political structures and landscape
Today, many development initiatives solicit the participation of all concerned stakeholders, at the relevant level, not only for the sake of efficiency and equity of the programmes, leverage of donors and demands of local communities, but also for sustainability of these initiatives (Ribot, 2004). Consequently, the real outcome for soliciting such community participation is to create and produce an enabling environment needed by these stakeholders, especially local communities who have been vulnerable to negative impacts of cultural tourism attributed partly to the fact that many tourism resources occur in their areas, to have a real stake in development activities (Songorwa, 1999). Local community need to transform from passive to active attitude for a new relationship to occur. By having a proactive attitude, local community are able to control unwanted change and ensure the best development plans to fit their needs (Cheong and Miller, 2000). As to encourage cultural tourism development process, planners and community leaders need to provide educational information and programs such as workshops and awareness programs to residents (Sirakaya, 2001). For an ideal condition of community participation, it requires a transfer of power, from those who had major decisions making roles to those who traditionally have not had such a role. This means, readjustment of power between local community and developers or the local authority need to be conducted in professional way as not to manipulate the participation process. Participation can take different forms (Tosun, 2000). Pimbert and Pretty (1995) contextualise community participation as an absolute term that permits involvement of a host community in their own matters at diverse levels (local, regional or national) and several forms (induced, passive, spontaneous, etc.) under place specific circumstances. Participation can vary from passive/coercive participation whereby the community has no input in project planning and is not involved in benefit sharing, through different levels, comprising consultation and other forms of minimal participation to the highest level of community participation which involves self-mobilisation/spontaneous participation (Tosun, 2006). At this level, host communities exercise complete control of the decision-making process, project execution and benefit sharing. These typologies are useful in identifying different levels of community participation from passive forms to those that are more genuine and collaborative.
In order to foster an appreciation of cultural identity, cultural attractions have to overcome cross-cultural differences to achieve an understanding of the nature and value of cultural diversity across different cultures Spain for example (Ting- Toomey, 199). Such values and practices can be shared positively with visitors through festivals, events, thus enhancing both group and place identity. Thus cultural tourism can function as a celebration of a sense of place, and as a manifestation of community identity why revamping forgotten customs and traditional rituals of a community when community members fully participates in such events. Cultural tourism date as far back as before the 20th century, travel was largely a matter of necessity the purpose was trade, war, government and worship, unlike today, where travel is also for ‘non-instrumental’ pleasure purposes. Religious travel drew a large number of people in ancient Greece to take to the roads in search of recognised and valued culture. Allen et al, (2000) state that since the dawn of time, human beings have found ways to mark important events in their lives, such as the changing of the seasons, the phases of the moon and the renewal of life each spring. This is evident from the Aboriginal Coloboree and Chinese New Year festivals, to the Dionysian rites of ancient Greece, to the present day. Behind well-known figures such as Old Father Time and Santa Claus lie old myths, archetypes and ancient celebrations that are today culture and belief of a set of people. The European carnival tradition of the Middle Ages, myths and rituals were created to interpret cosmic happenings and this has led to cultural development through active participation with this entire base on their beliefs.
In drawing inspiration of what is happening in the world, in Kenya it has been argued that native, indigenous and traditional peoples have distinctive cultures, and often also possess a rich heritage and a reservoir of intellectual property that has value for both economic and emotional reasons (Walle, 2010). As a result, several community cultural festivals have been initiated with the aim of expressing the cultural values of different communities and to preserve their cultural heritage through community participation in cultural tourism development. The Abatochi cultural festival is a one-day event whose main aim is to educate the youth on their cultural values. Values inculcated in the community during the festival are peace among humanity, love of customs and traditions, unity in diversity and respect for others and also show case the rich potentials of the people. The activities in the event include songs and dance, the showcasing of musical instruments and foods (Festivals in Kenya, no date.) with the involvement of the host community, benefits from such activities fosters their growth and bring about development. Also the The Bull Fighting (Lihe/Liru) cultural festival is an event held at the end of every month. It involves bullfights, with cheering crowds, till one of the bulls surrenders the battle after being overpowered or injured. The aim of the ‘Lihe’ is to promote clan loyalty by bringing together community members (Festivals in Kenya, n.d.).
In Cameroon, the concept of community participation in cultural tourism development is beginning to gain its roots, as it was difficult to involved local community in the development process in the past, some communities especially those who have farming and hunting as their main source of livelihood preferred to continue their activities instead of participating in the development process of this tourism destination. Top cultural tourism activities in Cameroon consisting of visits to museums or art galleries, attending performing arts or concerts, visiting history/heritage buildings, visiting arts/cultural events. The buying of actual products such as arts and crafts, traditional clothing of the people constitutes a significant aspect of cultural tourism. Today the notion and idea of most Cameroonian has change since the introduction of sustainable tourism; tourism that meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the need of the future generation. An example can be seen in some areas in the Ngondo festival were local population act as tour operators, porters and are involve in project initiation within their jurisdiction and making sure the festival run well. This activity of the community has brought about benefits such economic development, of their communities through various project engage in, this has help improve their livelihood economically through various successes recorded.