Evaluation of Infrastructure for Tourism Development in Bangem Sub-division
|TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT|
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The tourism sector is of sufficient economic importance and its impact upon economies, environments and societies is enough for the subject of tourism to deserve academic consideration. Tourism serves as means to maintain and extend commercial and trade links between nations, re-unite families and enable people to fulfill their desire for leisure. In today’s world, tourism infrastructure plays a vital role as far as tourism development is concerned. Infrastructure which acts as a backbone of every tourism industry must be properly exploited for better productivity.
Despite the tremendous role played by infrastructure, in the development of the tourism sector, tourism infrastructures in Bangem have-not been identified and developed so far. Tourism infrastructure is the major facilities that contribute to the development of the tourism sector in Bangem but little or no attention has been paid in the assessments of the infrastructures.
Some of these infrastructures have been abandoned without exploitation and some are dilapidated. Lack of information or knowledge about some existing infrastructures which encourages and permits the stay of tourists have caused a setback to tourism development. The aim of this study is to evaluate infrastructure to the development of the tourism sector in Bangem municipality. Four objectives and research questions were formulated to guide the study. The study adopted a descriptive research design and the target population was the Bangem inhabitants.
A purposive sampling technique was used to select 50 respondents who had background knowledge on tourism infrastructures and tourism development. The main instruments for data collection were questionnaires. The results of the findings were analyzed on frequency distribution tables using the five category likert scale. This study found out that there exist roads, car park, drainage although they are not developed to standard. The study revealed that Bangem municipality is blessed with wonderful environmental infrastructures which include the Bakossi National parks of 29,320 Ha, the Mt Muanenguba proposed integral ecological reserved, tree canopies made up eucalyptus a twin lake (Lake Muanenguba).
The study also discovered thatless attention to the development of attractive sites is slowing down the tourism infrastructural development in Bangem municipality. Acall for a good road will be for the betterment of the Development. Providing accessibility will make it easier for tourist to visit the tourism site and have a pleasurable stay. Therefore the government should consider the development of roads as part of a bottom-up business oriented approach to develop the tourism infrastructure in Bangem and Cameroon as a whole. The situation of the infrastructures such as the roads to the parks and reserves of Bangem municipality needs to be improved as well maintained. The government should encourage the private investment on the Building of quality and numerous infrastructures such as good hotels, restaurants and other amenities in Bangem that will be a good policy to promote sustainable development of the tourism sector.
The inventory of the different tourism infrastructures is a strategy taken to have an account of all the available infrastructures so as to be able to monitor their level of development and the extent at which each of the infrastructures leads to the development of tourism. Tourism infrastructures in Bangem municipality can be classified under transport, environmental, and social infrastructures. Amongst these infrastructures the environmental infrastructures are contributing more to the development of the tourism sector than all the other infrastructures. This study conludes that tourism infrastructures are contributing very little to the development of the tourism sector in Bangem municipality this is concluded by the Pearson correlation coefficient (0.212) obtained for the result of inferential statistics done between tourism infrastructure and the development.
The tourism sector according to Cooper et al (2008) is of sufficient economic importance and its impact upon economies, environments and societies is enough for the subject of tourism to deserve academic consideration. According to Wall et al (2006), tourism serves as means to maintain and extend commercial and trade links between nations, re-unite families and enable people to fulfill their desire for leisure. For this sector to function properly, there are certain facilities that are to be provided, discovered and developed so as to give it the impetus to render quality services to its beneficiaries. Amongst this facility are tourism infrastructures which stand as the most important facility through which the development of the tourism sector can be measured. (Raajpoot 2004).
According to Coviello, Winklhofer, and Hamilton (2006) tourism infrastructure is a range of devices and institutions constituting material and organizational basis for tourism development. It comprises four basic elements: accommodation facilities, food and beverage facilities, accompanying facilities and communication facilities. Adebayo and Iweka (2014) points out that tourism infrastructure can be regarded as the physical elements that are designed and erected to cater for visitors. The goal of infrastructural development in tourism should be to provide safe, secure, enjoyable, hassle-free world class tourism destinations to both domestic and international tourists. There is no doubt that eradicating poverty and increasing the quality of life must be seen as important objectives in any development of tourism infrastructure. While the number of international tourists arrival continues to grow at a significant rate, and as the amount of money being spent increases, there is still concern that the benefits of tourism do not always go to the regions and communities that most need economic development.(Loveman 1998)
Developing countries in particular need to understand the implications of investment in tourism infrastructure and how they might ensure that national policies can support sustainable development of tourism infrastructure. Often, this requires the removal of institutional and financial obstacles that make such investment difficult and, at times, counterproductive (Singh, 2018). There is growing recognition that innovative approaches must be adopted in order to maintain the economic health of many countries, communities and regions. While conditions vary from region to region, tourism has been seen as an important form of economic development. It has also been promoted as a somewhat benign agent of economic and social change, a promulgator of peace through interaction and dialogue, and a service-based industry capable of creating employment and income. The strong relationship between tourism development and infrastructure has been theoretically established by a number of authors, Saini, and Majumdar (2015) emphasized that the structure of tourist infrastructure consists of the following elements: Typical tourist infrastructure (accommodation facilities, facilities for arrivals servicing, tourist information and trails), Para-tourist infrastructure (transportation facilities, roads and transport points, local facilities communal and public transport, and trade and service facilities), Gastronomy and accompany facilities (sport, leisure, entertainment). Zenithal (2000) points out that tourism has been a major growth industry globally for over five decades. Factors underpinning this growth include the growth of incomes and wealth, improvements in transport, changing lifestyles and consumer values, increased leisure time, international openness and globalization, immigration, special events, education, information and communication technologies, destination marketing and promotion, improved general and tourism infrastructure among others (Zhang 2015). Some authors point to the difference between tourism infrastructure and superstructure, claiming that superstructure depends on infrastructure (Correia, Kozak,andFerradeira 2013). Donthu and Yoo (1998) underline the fact that tourism infrastructure includes ancillary and complementary facilities, equipment, systems, processes, and resources necessary for the functioning of every tourist destination. Their main purpose is accommodation and meeting the needs and desires of tourists, in the form of hotels, campsites, restaurants, sports facilities, and the like (Tse and Ho
2009). Therefore, tourism infrastructure has a very important role to tourist satisfaction from destination (Susskind et al. 2000). According to Malthouse et al. (2004) satisfaction with accommodation, outdoor activities, and attractions has the strongest impact on overall satisfaction with the holiday destinations in the region. When these basic infrastructures are available, the tourism industry will develop as in other states and countries where such infrastructures are readily available. Based on this background information supra, the researchers seek to assess the infrastructures for tourism development in Bangem municipality.
The national segment demand for tourism in Kupe Muanenguba as a whole and Bangem in particular has declined as a result of inadequate development of the infrastructures, this has impacted negatively on all sites, but has had more impact on tourism infrastructures which have not been developed so far, as there is presently little capital available for tourism development purposes.
The main problem discussed in this research work is that tourism infrastructure in Bangem have not been identified and inventoried. This is as result of the absence of studies related to tourism infrastructure in terms of tourism development, accessibility, appropriate infrastructure, and adequate tourism facilities and services.
Tourism infrastructure is the major facilities that contribute to the development of the tourism sector in Bangem but little or no attention has been paid in the assessments of the infrastructures. Some of these infrastructures have been abandoned without exploitation and some are dilapidated. Further, the absenceof information or knowledge about some existing infrastructures which encourages and permits the stay of tourists have caused a setback to the development of the tourism sector in Bangem. Therefore this research work identifies and evaluates Infrastructures for tourism development based on specific tourism evaluation criteria, to identify any existing infrastructure which could act as the basis for developing a Sustainable tourism.
Four fundamental questions are addressed in the course of this study:
- What are the existing infrastructures for tourism development in Bangem municipality?
- What are the contributions of these infrastructures on the development of the tourism sector of the study area (Bangem Municipality)?
- What are the problems affecting the development of the infrastructures?
- What are the possible solutions to the problems affecting the development of these infrastructures?