PERCEPTUAL EFFECTS OF NATURAL DISASTERS ON THE ATTRACTIVENESS OF TOURIST DESTINATION
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This study was aimed at examining the perceptual effects of natural disaster on the attractiveness of tourist destination in Limbe 1 municipality. In an attempt to meet up with the broad coverage of this research work, the work was broken down into the following specific objectives; firstly, to examine the trend of national and international visitation to Limbe for tourism from 2000-2020, to ascertain the perception of local stakeholders about the impact of natural disasters on tourist visitations, resources and attractions, to maximize the attractiveness of tourist destinations and resources to improve tourist visitation, to propose what can be done to improve or increase tourist visitation to Limbe in the context of advertisement of tourist resources and attractions and lastly to examine the measure put in place by the government to improve on the touristic resources and maintained to increase tourist visitation. Both primary and secondary data were collected from 70 respondents using questionnaires(primary) and interview (secondary).
The study revealed that local stakeholders perceive natural hazards to have reduced tourist visitation and attractiveness on coastal tourist destinations in Limbe over the past 20 years. The results further revealed that there is need for constant watch over these resources, innovation, sensitization campaigns. And lastly, the findings also showed that in an attempt to increase the number of national and international visitations, development of the means of transportations to these sites is encourage, infrastructural development and advertisement of these resources are all encourage.
Thus the null hypothesis was rejected over the alternative hypothesis that states that natural hazards have a significant effect on the attractiveness of tourist destination in Limbe 1 municipality.
Tourism is a relatively young and dynamic sector of the economy since 1950s. Moreso, global tourism grown steadily while Europe was partially observed and North America with high number of tourist per year but in the recent years is expecting high number of tourist in countries that have the largest economic growth rates and higher disposable incomes. Global tourism contributed to the economy in 2014 US$7 trillion, US$15 trillion in foreign exchange earnings or 6% of global economy and 30% of all the global service exports with more than 500million jobs recorded in the tourism industry (UNWTO, 2015).
Natural disasters such as earthquakes, flooding, volcanic eruptions, landslides and tsunamis have been historically causing disasters impact on the lives of people in the last 20 years and even till date. This is causing an increase in global damage coming from natural disasters which has recorded many deaths and is higher even in low income countries (Kirchberger, 2017).
Tourism attractions and tourists are vulnerable to natural disasters and the intensity might increase in the next years as a result of climate change (waters et al 2015). The occurrence of natural disasters turn to decrease the overall arrivals of international tourist (Peters and Pikkenmaat, 2006). Since tourist always prefer a destination in order to have some rest, the existence of natural disaster threat of an emergency situation to touristic destination, tourist will choose other touristic destination alternatives to maximize their utility that they receive from touristic tourism activity (Peters, 2006). Consequently, economic revenues that a destination receives decreases sharply parallel to the decrease in the damage that the location gets from natural disaster deep even further.
Nevertheless, the impact of natural disaster is present even if there is no actual disaster which occurred and rather there is just a probability for such instances. In order words, travel decisions are made by taking words, travel decisions are made by taking the possible risk into consideration (Colaniranel al, 2001).
Risk assessment for the natural disasters is an important process in order to evaluate the possible damage of risk and take some measures before they cause massive amount of loss of life and property. For that reason, academicians as well as policy makers have been focusing on risk analysis of natural disasters with regards to tourist visit (Prisbo et al 2000). In supply chain, natural disasters are of the single most threat tourism (World Economic Forum, 2013), a new category extreme weather previously part of natural disasters was introduced and consider as the second largest disrupter for the tourism industry and more important than political unrest and conflicts, Becken (2012) concludes that adapting to climate change is very closely linked to “future proofing”, “risk management” and disaster-risk reduction. Buckley et al (2015) mention climate change and related hazards and or disaster.
In recent years, examples like Indian Ocean earthquake and Tsunami in 2004 0r Haiti earthquake in 2010, stand as an evidence of the catastrophic natural disasters. In the global perspective of natural disasters, the Philippines with it famous idyllic beaches and due to its location, it is common or prone to natural disasters like typhoon which leads to flooding, landslides. In Manila (Reaters) the strongest typhoons hit the Philippines in January 2020. The deadliest cyclone which hit them led to severe deaths and many areas remained submerged in a northern region hit by the worst flooding in more than four decades, which led to more than 26 houses damaged and loss of many lives. Typhoon season falls between June and November and during this period, rains and thunder storms occur randomly and unpredictably. Even when typhoons do not hit an area tourist is visiting they may get affected by monsoonal rains, thunderstorms or landslides. It should be noted and stayed to tourist visiting Philippines that typhoons may hit occasionally outside the typhoon season.
In Bali which is known as the island of the gods, it is proud of its mountains and sandy beaches spiritual and unique culture, Bali is found in Indonesia and it attracted many tourists until 2010 whereby a number of natural disasters occurred up to 2018 which did not only result to loss of lives but also led to economic loses in the tourism sector according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB). The Mount Ayung eruption in Bali erupted multiple time in the year 2017 causing a drastic fall in tourism and a million fewer tourist that were still visiting the island led to estimated RP 11 trillion (US$775 million) in loses for tourism businesses. Several flights were cancelled to and from Bali Ngwah Rai International Airport for some time.
Also in Japan in September 1923, the great Kanto Earthquake in Tokyo, its greatest city, it emanated from seismic faults six months beneath the floor of Sagami Bay, 30miles south of Tokyo. A segment of the Philippine oceanic plate ruptured and thrust itself against the Eurasian continental plate releasing a massive burst of tectonic energy. The death toll was estimated to about 140,000.
The southern part of the America (Mexico, Brazil) and Carlifornia are prone to drought, bush fires, intense hurricanes, flooding. Brazil witnessed a lot of flooding due to inadequate basic infrastructure and unregulated urban growth, especially areas close to the Atlantic coast, this is common in the Mesquita city in the Metropolitan region of Rioda Janeiro. This area has heavy rainfall amounts which triggers flooding and landslides, rainfall amounts are as a result to global heating, the monsoon rains kill Brazilians every summer and flood waters tilling streets making slopes vulnerable to landslides and led to death toll of about 150 people. Rainfall within 24 hours is more than 80mm. in the south eastern states where these deadly rains occur Sao Paulo, Rio De Janerio and Belo Horizonte. There has been investigations with increase of the east of brazil.
Still on the regional perspective in south and southern part of America, mexico recorded heavy rain and greatly affected the san mateo atenco municipality of mexico which was triggered by the evaluation carried out due to an overflow of the lerma river. It led to the damage of 1000 homes and more than 600 hecters of agriculture land were affected in the cities of Totanlan and octlan due to an overflow and another river called zula and registered total death toll of 4,800 people. California and mexico are as well affected by huricanes. In California which has had several bush fires triggered due to start a fire.
With the African Continent, countries like Kenya, South Africa which receive a lot of tourist due to their culture also face disasters. In Kenya, tourist sites are prone to erosion and flood as reported by Kenya National Highways and Dr. Asha Mohammed, 2021. In Kenya, the Nyando district Taina River which are good tourist sites are prone to erosion and flood. Flood are usually slow onset as they build up slowly breaks it banks and are seasonal, coastal flood occur also as a result of wave activity resulting from tropical cyclones, Tsunamis and strong storm surges. Tsunami also occur in Kenya with the module which highlights the type of Tsunami temporal and Spatial distribution and also the country faces pandemics like malaria, cholera reducing the tourist visitation, also in South Africa, Cape town.
The Cameroon is a diverse country with plenty of touristic attractions and resources that attracts tourists from around the World and it’s for this reason it is called “Africa Imminiature”. Cameroon has recorded natural disasters in coastal erosion and toxic gases emitted from crater lakes associated with the Cameroon Volcanic line. The lowland regions of Cameroon like Limbe and Douala are vulnerable to flooding mostly during the rainy season due to increase in rainfall amount and intensity. This goes along way to trigger other disasters such as coastal bank erosion and landslides. Landslides are mostly common in the western highlands of Cameroon with towns like Dschang, Baffousam also highly vulnerable as such common in the Limbe I Municipality. Cameroon has recorded natural disasters in the coastal city of Limbe.
1.2 How has the problem of natural disasters affected tourists’ visitation.
The events have formed part of wide “risks cape” that tourists have learned to live with. However, more recently the impacts of disaster have increased substantially partly due to exacerbating effects of climate change, but also due to the growing complexity of socio-ecological systems in a highly connected and globalized World (Becken, Mahon Rennie & Shakeela, 2014). In 2017 series of hurricanes were recorded (Irma, Harvey and Maria) in the Caribbean and severe earthquake in Mexico incurred losses recorded (US$135 billion) (Munich, 2018) that led to serious damage of these tourist resources and thus low visitation.
Disasters constitute abrupt changes that shock the system in which tourism is embedded (Shondell Miller, 2008). Most disasters have profound impacts on organizations, individuals and tourism activities. The repercussions of a disaster are likely to affect the destination or country visit but indirectly consequences for travel to and from affected regions are also conceivable (Jin, Qu & Bop 2019). Responding to this risk therefore has to be an intergrated component of sustainable tourism management (Shakeela & Becken, 2015). Consequently, topic of risk management and disaster is attracting increasing attention in tourism research.
Tourism is exposed and vulnerable to multiple types of hazards (Becken, Zammit & Hendreick, 2015) and disasters have the potential to determine visitoes from travelling to affected destinations (Bhati, Upadhaya & Sharma, 2016). However, the empirical research that confirms or quantifies the relationship between disaters and tourism activity is scanti. It is therefore timely to undertake a global study that uses a consistent approach to measuring the impacts of disasters on international tourism movements (Ghimire, 2016).
Disasters and other forms of crisis (conflict, pollution, epidemics) can lead to a reduction in visitation of the affected area (Bhati et al 2016). Following major events for instance (Mazzocchi and Montini, 2001). Evaluated the impact on visitation to the Umbria region in Central Italy following an earthquake in September 1997. The data after the main shock, with ongoing loss in tourism activity being recorded until June, 1998. In September 1999, Huang and Min (2002) analyzed the Taiwan earthquake using an integrated moving average model to explore the recovery process. The study revealed that island inbound arrivals had not fully recovered 11 months after the earthquake making tourist visitation fall drastically for a very long period.
Several reasons why visitation to disasters area decline in immediate aftermath of an event. The most inhibitor relates to the damage inflicted by a disaster that prevents that affected areas from engaging in tourism activity. Also decline in tourist arrivals is due to peoples’ risk perceptions and avoidance of regions that are deemed unsafe (Kozak et al…2007, Sonmez, Apostolopoulas, & Tarlow, 1999).
Cameroon is known as “Africa Imminiature” due to the diversity of it touristic resources and attractions in Africa in particular and the World in general, these resource may be both natural and cultural resources. Natural disasters do ot have impacts only on lives, but these resources and attractiveness thereby interrupting social and economic activities to a great extent. Communities located in which are vulnerable are encounting greater challenges in developing a resilient and sustainable tourism economy. These past years examples like volcanic erosion, earthquakes, landslides, coastal erosion have greatly affected Limbe as a touristic destination.
The seaside resort town of Limbe is a major touristic town who’s touristic attractions such as beaches, zoos, hotels alongside and towns to Limbe to enjoy the beautiful and attractive environment, which cuts across national and international boundary with plenty touristic attractions. However, Limbe is susceptible and vulnerable to natural disasters such as landslide especially, flooding, volcanic eruptions, coastal bank erosion which affects the pace of tourist visitation and a general reduction in the income stream from the tourism industry. Since tourists always seek avenues for relaxation and reactions, a disaster is considered a threat to their livelihood. In such scenarios other areas are therefore chosen as suitable avenues to host the tourist. This means that normal interaction of tourist can be distorted when natural disasters set in policies and efforts should be therefore geared towards adverse of disaster efforts. With the mount Cameroon eruption in April 1999 this discouraged mountains from different part of Africa to join the Mount Cameroon Race of Hope and tourist visit. Limbe was affected by this eruption in Bakimgili along the Seme road where lava flow entering Limbe through the Mount Cameroon volcanic line and spread to other parts of the country. Flooding in Limbe is phenomena which occur during the wet or rainy season due to high amounts of rainfall filling the banks feeding the ocean carry capacity leading to flooding. It is intense and occurs for 5 days to the 7 days in extreme cases. It is extended to the streets and houses around these prone areas or neighborhood. At this point, movement is a problem to the local people living here as well as fishing to the fishermen, making tourist to evade from this area during such periods of the year since beaches also get flooded. With an intense rainfall from 7 days will go a long way to trigger landslide which are prone to the slope nature areas in Limbe Municipality. This landslide occurs in Mile 1 area of Limbe.
Coastal erosion is another problem in Limbe. It is most seen along the banks in coastal areas where agricultural activities are carried out the soil as a whole eroded and washed into the river, soil creep can also be noticed in coastal area of the Limbe municipality in areas like Bota, Bobende, and Batoke.
The tourism industry in Cameroon is owned by the government but the facilities offered are both private and public individuals and companies, private industries provide facilities like hotels, guest houses but publicly, the government provides both the tourist facilities and infrastructure like roads, provide water and other basic necessities. Ventors also benefit from these tourists as they retail items found in retail shops need by the tourists.
What are the different touristic attractions and resources in Limbe I Municipality?
1.4.1 Specific Research Questions
1) What is the trend of national and international visitation to Limbe for tourism from 2000-2020?
2) What is the perception of local stakeholders about the impact of natural disasters on tourist visitations, resources and attractions?
3) How can we maximize the attractiveness of tourist destinations and resources to improve tourist visitation?
4) What can be done to improve or increase tourist visitation to Limbe in the context of advertisement of tourist resources and attractions?
5) What measure are put by the government to improve on the touristic resources and maintained to increase tourist visitation?
The following objectives are to guide this research work which is both main and specific research objectives.
1.5.1 Main Research Objective
The main objective is to analyze the impact of natural disasters on the attractiveness of tourist destination in Limbe Municipality.
1.5.2 Specific Research Questions
To investigate the trend of national and international visitations to Limbe from 2000-2020.
To examine the perception of local stakeholders on natural disasters.
To investigate the impacts of natural disasters on tourist visitation and destination.
To propose on how to improve tourist visitation by maximizing attractiveness.
To propose ways the government can improve visitation but first improving attractiveness.
FURTHER READING: GEOGRAPHY PROJECT TOPICS WITH MATERIALS