ECOTOURISM AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN MUNDEMBA; POTENTIALS AND CHALLENGS
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Ecotourism has been hailed as a panacea around the world as a way to fund conservation and scientific research and its potential is perceived as an effective tool for sustainable development. Mundemba can be termed as an ecotourism hotspot because of her richness in flora and fauna biodiversity mixed with beautiful terrain and waterfalls as well as a wonderful cultural mix. The main objective of this study was to identify the different ecotourism potentials in Mundemba so as to create awareness to nationals and foreign tourists on what the area is endowed with. Data for this study consisted of primary and secondary sources. Primary sources of data collected included the use of questionnaires, interview and direct field observation and the use of camera and GPS location app for android to get the coordinate location of some of the ecotourism potentials and infrastructures in Mundemba. Secondary sources of data collected included literatures from published and unpublished sources such as textbooks, journals, articles, website publication, government reports, Korup National Park Information center and written long essays. The Simple stratified random sampling techniques were used in the administration of questionnaires. The data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 20. Results were presented using frequency distribution tables and pie charts. The study revealed that 97.1% of the respondents asserted to the fact that Mundemba is endowed with rich ecotourism potentials that are still lying unharnessed meanwhile others are not even known to all the local people themselves, while just 2.9% of the respondents thought otherwise. It was realized that 55.7% of tourists who visit the study site come from international countries and 44.3% were nationals. It was noticed that the tourists get to the different sites mostly on foot as confirmed by 54.3% of the respondents. This is because most of the sites are not motorable with 20% of the respondents confirmed the use of both foot and bikes because some of the sites are a bit close to the town and so bikes are used in such cases. The study has recommended amongst others that the government takes into consideration the maintenance of the road and should involve the indigenous people (by employing them and taking their own opinions into account) in the protection and conservation of the natural resources and involve them in all ecotourism activities.