Research Key

Perception and attitudes toward sustainable tourism in Cameroon amongst Cameroon tourists. case of Korup national park

Project Details

Tourism and Hospitability Management 
Project ID
International: $20
No of pages
Analytical tool
Descriptive statistics
 MS Word & PDF

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An attitude can be defined as a reflection that can be a positive or negative evaluation of people, objects, events, activities, ideas, or just about anything in one’s environment (Zimbardo and Boyd, 1999). Attitudes are built upon the perceptions and beliefs of reality but are closely related to deeply held values and to personality (Wang et al., 2006).

Residences within National Parks are often sidelined in benefit sharing, this often impacts their attitudes and perceptions towards tourism development negatively as they don’t get a direct share benefit of the activity, yet they are key partners and allies in wildlife conservation and tourism development.

The study seeks to examine the perception and attitude of residence in tourism development, access their perception and attitude towards accepting tourism development in their community and to investigate the challenges influencing the perception and attitude of locals towards sustainable tourism development.

The study made use of both primary and secondary source of data that was obtained through field survey, questionnaire and was analysed using percentages and tables.

Data obtain from the field proved that there were existing challenges that were preventing local perception and attitude to participate in sustainable development in and around the park such as low level of education, low benefits derive from the park and poor transports networks.

This work came to a conclusion by making some suggestion and recommendations that will foster community participation and perception in sustainable development in Korup National Park.

                                                   CHAPTER ONE

                                                    GENERAL INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the study

An attitude can be defined as a reflection that can be a positive or negative evaluation of people, objects, events, activities, ideas, or just about anything in one’s environment (Zimbardo and Boyd, 1999). Attitudes are built upon the perceptions and beliefs of reality but are closely related to deeply held values and to personality (Wang et al., 2006).

Attitudes are not fixed; they change according to social influence or other factors.

In terms of sustainable tourism development, support for the basic theory of attitude can be explained in that residents’ attitudes can not only simply reflect the residents’ view about tourism and its impacts, but can also show the result of interaction between residents’ perceptions and factors affecting their attitudes (Lankford et al., 1994).

The influence factors of residents’ attitude are diverse; almost all the impact factors are variables that could change at different stages of tourism development and with different experiences.

In a sense, residents’ perceptions of tourism can reflect how locals usually behave towards visitors, their values, and their requirement.

The participation of local people is important in sustainable tourism development. In this respect, residents’ expectations of tourism, perspectives on tourism and perceptions of the natural and cultural values play an important role in the development of sustainable tourism, planning and management strategies for tourism growth.

Therefore perception is an act or faculty of apprehending by the means of the senses or of the mind, cognitive and understanding of something by the people towards tourism development (Zimbardo and Boyd, 1999).  

The attitude and perception of residents towards tourism is very important in order to create a hospitable and attractive environment most especially in National park areas (Var et al., 1977). According to Przeclawski (1986), when the reception community makes tourists feel welcome, it is more likely for them to visit it again and also to recommend it to others.

Many studies (Haralambopoulos et al., 1996; Johnson et al., 1994; Weaver and Lawton, 2001) refer to an important relationship between the perceptions of tourism and the economic dependence from it, which implies that the residents that enjoy more economical profits, that come from tourism, have more positive attitudes in the tourist industry.

Thus, the balance of perception of the residents for the cost and the benefits of tourism are considered to be an important factor for the visitor’s satisfaction and it is of vital importance for the tourist growth (Andriotis et al., 2003). 

However, local residents’ attitudes and perceptions are influenced by not only the economic benefits but also the social, cultural and environmental factors that impact sustainable tourism development in the host community (Jurowski et al., 1997).

Therefore, tourism relies heavily upon the goodwill of the local communities’ reactions toward tourism development, as locals are the focal point of tourism development(Demirkaya, et al 2010).

Since sustainable tourism relies heavily upon the goodwill of the local residents, their support is essential for its development, successful operation, and sustainability of the industry in the long term (Vargas-Sánchez et al., 2011).

In fact, the sense of residents’ community attachment not only influences residents’ perceptions of the impacts of sustainable tourism (Dodds and Butler, 2010), but also the relationship between residents and tourists. Tourists are more favourable attracted by destinations in which residents are more friendly, honest and hospitable (Fallon and Schofield, 2006).

Therefore, the local community must increasingly be involved and given an active role, participating in the planning and management of local tourism policy (Simpson and Bretherton, 2009) in order to obtain its agreement and support.

In the word, particularly in national park areas, in Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal for example, there is a Grass Cutting Programme which was first gazetted in 1976 following the distress expressed by local people who were deprived of their customary right to collect traditional house building and binding material after the park was established in 1973 (Lehmkuhl et al.,1988).

The Grass Cutting Programme was launched to control and stop encroachment on Royal Chitwan National Park resources and reverse local people’s negative perceptions of the park by allowing them to enter the park for 20 days every year to collect building material essential for their subsistence.

This programme is important because it enhances good security to nature conservation and maintains good park-people relations. Today, more than 200,000 people are estimated to reside in the buffer zone, and the fate of 20 tourism development in the park is determined by the attitudes and perceptions of these local residents.

Despite this, Royal Chitwan National Park remains one of the most visited parks in Nepal, and tourism development within and around the park continues to benefit the local residents (Lehmkuhl et al.,1988).

In Botswana, local communities have positive attitudes towards wildlife because they received benefits which they obtained from tourism through revenue-sharing, employment opportunities, as well as concessions on the traditional use of wildlife through subsistence hunting (Sifuna, 2005).

This was manifested by the positive attitudes of the people of Botswana living adjacent to parks towards sustainable tourism development. Though not practised in all areas, there is apparently a relative approval towards sustainable tourism development in the country.

Due to concerns over deforestation of tropical rain forests and loss of biodiversity in the late 20thcentury, a number of forest-related conservation policies were instituted worldwide. These policies can be looked upon as haven enhanced the creation of National Parks in Cameroon as the country recognize the need of protecting endangered species of wild fauna and flora.

Protected area tourism has been promoted to facilitate linkages between biodiversity conservation and community livelihood improvements in Cameroon through the different recreational activities it offers and cash generation from such activities.

However, tourists’ attitude and perception towards sustainable tourism development in Cameroon and their activities as well as how it affects sustainable tourism development is still under study. Therefore, this study probes into tourists’ perception and attitude towards sustainable tourism in Cameroon within the theKorup National Park.

1.2 Statement of the problem

The attitude and perception of communities towards tourism development remain a very important factor in promoting development and as a way of enhancing hospitality.

This, therefore, constitutes a way forward to maintaining sustainable growth within the environment. This is not the case with the KNP as a number of problems have been identified impediments to the sustainable growth and development of the park.

Firstly, the residents within the Korup National Park complaint of being neglected in the benefit-sharing of proceeds from the park.

Removing the residents from their normal way of life where they depended solely on forest products and side-lining them from benefits that accrue from tourism development activities give a negative feeling.

Such feeling often leads to their non-participation in activities organised by the KNP authorities and a negative attitude and perception towards sustainable tourism development.

Secondly, the lack of direct access into the park by the locals on one hand and the easy access of animals out of the park has increased the park-community conflicts within the area.

Elephants for example destroy crops of farmlands close to the park and per the 1996 Wildlife Law of Cameroon, these animals are not to be haunted.

This has increased the negative perception and attitude of the community towards the conservation and sustainable development of the KNP.

Again lack of local residents’ involvement in top management and daily running of the park has impacted negatively on their attitudes and perceptions toward tourism development.

This is because the residents do not see the value of tourism as they do not have a say in the management process of the park. Another related challenge is the lack of integration of the local community in the protected area management project.

This has led to mistrust, hostility, poor relationships and open resentments on park authorities. As most of the land now occupied by the park was forcefully collected, the locals see the park as having a negative influence on their development

More so, the lack of benefits accruing from wildlife conservation such as infrastructural development has aggravated the above problems making local people to view the park and its wildlife as a liability since no direct benefits are enjoyed as host to the park.

1.3 Research Question

1) What is the attitude and perception of residence in tourism development in the Korup National Park?

2) To what extend has their perception and attitude help in embracing tourism development within their community?

3) What are some of the challenges that have influenced the attitude and perception of locals towards tourism development in the Korup National Park?

1.4 Research Objective

1.4.1 General Objective

The general objective of this study seeks to assess the perception and attitude of locals towards sustainable tourism development in the Korup National Park.

1.4.2 Specific Objective

1) To examine the perception and attitude of residence to tourism development in the KNP.

2) To assess their perception and attitude towards accepting tourism development in their community.

3) To investigate the challenges influencing perception and attitude of locals towards sustainable tourism development.

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