Research Key

Tourism Potentials and Development in Limbe II Municipality, Southwestern Region of Cameroon

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This study was conducted to assess the role of tourism potential and development in Limbe II Municipality and see challenges which hinder these attractions from promoting sustainable tourism development and propose planning measures.

In this light the objectives of the study were as follows: to examine the touristic attractions in the Limbe II Municipality, to assess the state of tourism development, to probe into the management challenges of tourism development, to propose planning measures to enhance sustainable tourism development in the Limbe II Municipality. To gain more insights on the subject matter of this work, a review of the literature was done and the models used for this study were the Butlers’ Tourism Area Lifecycle Model (1980) and Alternative Development Theory.

The target populations for this research are the council, tourism operators, residents and visitors in Limbe II Municipality. This study made use of stratified and random sampling techniques to select the respondents. To realize the study, both secondary and primary data were collected using different techniques. Questionnaires, as well as interview guides, were used as means of data collection.

Quantitative data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences version 25 (SPSS). The qualitative data were analyzed using thematic content analysis. Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were done clearly and logically.

The results were presented in the form of percentages and bar charts. Based on the findings, Mount Etinde, Mile 6 beach, hotels, beaches, the municipal restaurant, volcanic mountains, Omnisport Stadium, and cultural animation groups are some of the major touristic attractions in Limbe II Municipality.

Some challenges faced are political insecurity, inaccessibility of some touristic sites, lack of information about touristic potentials, poor infrastructure, exploitation of touristic potentials, inadequate government, and poor management among others. Certain planning measures were made for various tourism stakeholders and they include Effectively and efficiently managing resources, improvement in communication, political stability, and government/private investments in tourism activities. Finally, the researcher made propositions for further study.



1.1 Background of the study

Tourism development stimulates a large range of other creative economic segments. Tourism permit also the development of businesses supplying the community with goods and services. This process is supposed to spread the benefits of tourism more within the economy. Tourism creates authenticities, especially in those settings where its economic potentialities are highlighted as the only means for development (Edgell, Delmstro, Smith & Swanson, 2008). With that explanation, we can say tourism is all about planning and implementing the strategies necessary for the growth of tourism in one area or it is the positive changes that tourism can bring somewhere.

Tourism is among the world’s fast-growing industries due to an improvement in the global transportation and communication network (Lenon & Foley, 2000). The World Tourism Organization reported that the tourist industry has witnessed steady growth over the two decades preceding 2001, and that same year, the industry accounted for up to 11 per cent of the global economy. Because the tourism industry has a lot of potential, it has to be properly managed otherwise the activities of the industry could end up hurting the population. However, it is important to note that tourism figures are sometimes artificial because some countries inflate the number of tourists they say they receive annually, to boost their country’s image as a tourist destination and attract more visitors there (Singh, 2008). The sector is generating enormous wealth for nations by creating jobs and attracting foreign revenue. Many countries in the world depend on the tourism industry, making it a major source of revenue for many countries (Wilkerson, 2003).  

In Asia, Tourism Development is seen as a collection of activities, services, and industries that deals with travel experiences such as transportation, accommodation, eating and drinking, hotels, retail shops and entertainment businesses, and extra hospitality services offered to persons travelling away from home. While in Polland, Tourism is regarded as an activity that is vibrant to the life of a nation because of its direct effect on the cultural, social, educational and economic sectors of the country. Tourism in theory brings about significant economic benefits to a country.

It is a vibrant and competition-driven industry that continuously adapts to customs, fluctuating desires and needs to meet the people’s satisfaction, enjoyment and safety which are the spotlights of the tourism business. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), tourism created 266 million direct and indirect employment in 2003 in the world. In addition to that, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTTC) acknowledges that the tourism industry accounts for 9.5% of global GDP, a total of US 7 trillion and 5.4% of world exports. However, tourism is not only a creator of GDP but has also an important contribution to “value-added” (Mencius, 2002).

Tourism can improve the economic situation of the population, reduce unemployment, increase occupational choices for individuals and lead to the development of infrastructures that can be appreciated and profitable for the local communities. Talking about the provision of jobs, this sector can accommodate disadvantaged groups such as women and the youths. As a promoter of peace and stability, tourism is a great facilitator of inter-cultural exchange and social cohesion. Tourism development supplies more changes in an area where tourism activities are practised.

Wall & Mathieson (2006), argued that many countries in the world provide splendid natural scenery, beautiful climates coordinated by people’s friendliness and their distinct and attractive culture. According to Jane Dove (2008), visitors to the lake District in England enjoy cultural experiences, myths and entertainment, and natural scenery and beach activities. Tourists promote and support the economy through spending lots on accommodation, travelling around the country, food, souvenirs and entertainment.

Thus, tourists help in providing employment opportunities that are made by providing unlimited services so that they feel welcomed and simultaneously by directly putting money into the country as they pay for the services offered.

However, the development of tourism in one area depends on the type of product that the area offers. At the same moment, the exploitation of natural resources like lakes, and beaches, is one of the best things that can attract tourists to that same area and permit in the same moment the development of this area.

In Asia, precisely in Malaysia, the ministry of hotels and tourism indicates that the increase in tourism activities provides an opportunity for local communities especially rural and poor people to be employed and also benefit from the income generated by selling goods and services to visitors.

Local community participation in tourism is promoted through the ministerial policy such as the “Myanmar Responsible Tourism Policy” in 2012, which stated that; there should be a spread of tourism benefits to local communities and encourages local entrepreneurship to secure livelihood for women, youths, as well alleviate poverty. As noted earlier, tourism generates about 200 million jobs worldwide and in Morocco, it is estimated that each additional $1 million in tourism receipts generates about twenty-four new jobs (Bureau of Tourism Research, 2000).

Given these trends, the travel and tourism industry has significant potential in Africa, notably due to the continent’s richness in natural resources and its potential to further develop cultural heritage for example music. Tourism in Africa is still at an early stage of development and is strongly connected with more general and longstanding development challenges, including infrastructure and security.

In Kenya, tourism represents 50% of total economic revenue.  Aware of the tourism potential, most countries have already drafted strategic plans to develop the sector as an economic opportunity and development catalyst. Much has to be done by both the private and public sectors to fully tap Africa’s potential in the tourism industry.

Cameroon tourism is a growing but relatively minor industry, which stands out with a genuine identity expressing diversity. It is often known for its modernity, traditional dynamism and calmness.

Cameroon has all the beauties of Africa and this explains why the researcher feels no explorer could discover Africa without having visited Cameroon. The country’s melting and contrasting views provide tourists with unique spectacles, such as the ancestral land, laying on the sea, deserts, waterfalls, Sahara zone and the temperate climate in the South, and great heat in the North.

The different aspects of Cameroon, such as the relationship between the tribal societies and modern cities, the diversity in fauna and flora, and the cohabitation of traditional and democratic leadership, give tourists the impression that they are visiting different countries at the same time.

When tourists visit Cameroon, the feeling of harmony is created by the arts, and the nature of the people, and sometimes, the tourists go a long way to experience the soul of Africa. Indeed, all 10 regions of Cameroon are endowed with tourist attractions that are located in various regions. The unique and multiple aspects of Cameroon greatly represent the values of Africa.

1.2 Statement of Problem

The Limbe Municipality is a very attractive and well-noted tourist destination in Cameroon. Since it is home to many remarkable tourist resources like the slave trade village Bimbia, multiple sandy beaches, the last lava flow of Mount Fako at Bakingili, Museums, Wildlife centre, Alfred Saker Monument, Limbe Botanical garden with a high diversity of fauna and flora species, good climate, several historical sites and unique cultural heritage of the Bakeries.

The exploitation of these tourism resources has encouraged greater development in the municipality through the construction of roads, hotels, amusement parks, nightclubs, and the football stadium, which also serves as a tourism resource and the increase in trade/commerce.

Examples of some Municipalities with good touristic attractions aside from Limbe include the Kribi Municipality with its main attraction being the seaside resort tourist attraction, and the Buea Municipality having as main attraction the Altitude (mountain) tourist attraction.

Limbe II municipality is endowed with rich natural resources with good prospects of developing the economy of the municipality if it is well exploited. The presence of the Mount Cameroon National park, the Atlantic Ocean with its rich bio and waterline diversity with medicinal plants, animal and beautiful physical scenery, beaches which has a variety of fish species, black sandy beaches, volcanic magma, Islands; rich in a variety of wild animals, birds, spring which can attract tourists from different parts of the world.  There is equally the presence of recreational sites, which include parks, resorts, hotels, cultural centres, and gardens among others.

The above-mentioned resources are underutilized and little known to the global public due to poor marketing strategies to portray some of the touristic attractions found in Limbe II.  They equally face some problems such as management problems, lack of funding, deterioration of infrastructure due to neglect, and a decline in the number of tourists who visit this tourist attraction.

All these hinder tourism development. Also, we cannot talk of development if the inhabitants of the area do not benefit from it, these inhabitants are not involved in the various touristic development undertaken in the area. The touristic activities are highly dependent on season or climate, making the visits of tourists fluctuate according to seasons. This dwindles the income generated from tourists. It is therefore important to set up mechanisms to bring out the tourism potential by servicing the site development, public awareness, building roads, communication, and means of transport to arrive at these destinations with little stress among others.

Due to the above-mentioned problems in paragraph two, may lead to some negative implications presently and shortly among which will include:

  • Abandonment of some tourist sites.

  • Underutilization of touristic resources due to lack or little awareness.

  • Lack of professionalism and service quality due to poor management.

  • Low-income flow from the tourism sector due to the limited numbers of tourists.

Hailegiorgis (2017) measures the practices and challenges faced by the management of recreational parks in Hawassa city. To determine the challenges, he conducted interviews with the park authorities and analysed data using SPSS. According to the findings, management faces the challenge of the absence of guidelines for urban recreational park service provision. This result in poor service provision and failure of the work unit to meet its objectives. Also, management faces the challenge of a lack of adequate and professional human resources such as a lack of architects and landscape designers to design the park. Also, there is an insufficient financial resources of the municipality for the development of new facilities and maintenance of the destroyed facilities of parks, thus the parks are becoming less attractive to the users and finally, park managers face the challenge of integrating the community and different stakeholders in park development and service delivery. He recommends that for these challenges to be resolved, all state holders involved in the tourism industry in Hawassa must work together and bring forth ideas to grow these parks.

This work is in line with our study as it outlines some managerial problems, which owners of parks face in carrying out their duty. But our work will go further in looking at other touristic attractions and not only to limit the challenges to managerial problems but to other problems like infrastructure, poor marketing and entrepreneurial skills, inadequate financial resources, and a decline in the number of tourists. In essence, that is the research gap our work will be filling.

1.3 Research Questions

1.3.1 General Question

What has been the nature of tourism development in the Limbe II Municipality and how can the sector be boosted for sustainability?

1.3.2 Specific Questions

  • What are the various touristic attractions in the Limbe II Municipality?
  • What is the state of tourism development in the Limbe II Municipality?
  • What are the management challenges of tourism development in the Limbe II Municipality?
  • How can sustainable tourism be enhanced in the Limbe II Municipality?
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