Tourist Potential in the West Coast SUBDIVISION IN THE PROMOTION OF TOURISM IN THE REGION
|TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT
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This study aimed to investigate the level of exploitation of tourist’s potentials in the west coast subdivision Specifically, the study seeks to identify and classify the tourist potentials in the West Coast Sub-division; to assess the level of exploitation of the potential to examine the level of development of infrastructural facilities to promote tourism in the region; to identify the challenges affecting the development of sustainable tourism in the region and propose solutions to alleviate them.
However, the west coast subdivision lacks basic infrastructure and tourism facilities. The researchers used the quantitative and qualitative research methods with the use of a Survey as a method of data collection, interview questions were also used to collect data. The findings of the study revealed that the West coast sub-division has a lot of tourism potential which ranges from natural to cultural, human-made and some facilities to host tourists.
Despite the presents of these tourists’ potential, the study’s findings revealed that the potentials are not properly being exploited. Looking at the Challenges faced in exploiting tourist potential, the findings revealed that poor funding, inadequate infrastructural facilities, and high taxes are some of the challenges faced in exploiting Tourist potential. Reducing taxes will help potential investors to invest in the West coast sub-division in the tourism industry
The Brookings Institute has posited that the tourism industry is a tremendous role in the global economy, contributing five per cent of gross domestic product, thirty per cent of service exports, and two hundred and thirty-five million jobs.
Throughout the past fifty years, tourism has rapidly spread and has emerged as a major export sector in many countries (UNWTO, 2007).
The decision to adopt tourism as an agent of development has been largely based on the expectation that tourism can increase foreign exchange earnings, create employment, attract foreign investment, and positively contribute to the local economy and the national balance of payment (Sharply and Telfair, 2002).
Tourism is the largest universal industry, and its market is mounting. According to the World Tourism Organization, in 2006, tourism contributed to local economies largely by raising foreign exchange earnings, creating employment and investment opportunities, increasing government revenues, improving the country’s reputation, and supporting all sectors of the economy.
The world witnessed a huge increase in foreign tourism between 1960 and 1970 (the era that was described as the era of the explosion of tourism and prosperity). Tourism infrastructure is the basis of tourism development and utilization of destination resources.
The importance of tourism infrastructure is reflected in the fact that it can contribute to increasing the efficiency of production and distribution of tourist services.
National parks, forest reserves and Beaches are great tourist resources as they attract many domestic and inbound tourists to any country blessed with sea and ocean.
It helps the government to increase the revenue and the development of infrastructure. Local people get employment through beach tourism, directly or indirectly.
Africa has a huge tourist potential that could attract foreign revenue through invisible trade and speed up socio-economic development in the continent. The range of the potentials and their level of exploitation vary from country to country.
Based on the report from the Brookings Institute in 2018, it is observed that in Africa, by 2030, consumer spending on tourism, hospitality and recreation is projected to reach about 261.77 billion dollars and this trend is higher than that in 2015 largely relates to the enormous potentials of the continent.
Aware of the potential, most countries in Africa have already developed strategic plans to develop the sector.
For example, the African Union has accepted the Tourism Action Plan produced by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), renamed Africa Union Development Agency (AUDA) and it recognizes tourism as a central pillar for the development of the continent.
Cameroon is often considered Africa in miniature due to its abundant physical and human tourist potential, second to none on the continent. The country is reputed for its natural attractions like mountains such as Mount Cameroon, KupeManenguba Mountains, Mount Oku, Mt. Bamboutos, etc. there exist volcanic lakes like Lake BarombiMbo, Lake Barombi Koto, Lake Ossa, Lake Chad, Lake Nyos, Lake Nachtigal, Lake Keta etc.
Besides, there exist beaches like the Kribi, Limbe and Idenau beaches. The Rumsiki and Kapsiki volcanic plugs are interesting natural edifices in the northern part of Cameroon. Other natural attractions are the tropical rainforest, savanna vegetation, Atlantic Ocean, Abi fall, Mentchum fall and the Cameroon Volcanic Line.
With regards to human potential, there are places like the Lamido in the northern part of Cameroon, sculpture and craftwork in the Western Highlands, paintings, engravements, embroideries and pottery
The West Coast Sub-Division is richly endowed with a wide range of natural and human resources relative to other areas in Cameroon and unfortunately, most of them are not fully exploited and this forms the basis of the study.
- Statement of Problem
The tourism industry on the West coast is not given much priority by the government. A ministry of culture and tourism was created in 1970 and charged with the responsibility of preserving, developing and providing all aspects of culture and tourism. The west coast subdivision lacks basic infrastructure and tourism facilities.
Again, it has been observed that despite the laudable tourism potentials in the west coast sub-division, coupled with the government interest and afford in developing the tourism sector, the level of tourist inflow in most of these potential sites is not encouraging.
Besides, the lack of adequate empirical data has hindered policymakers and other stakeholders on the viability of most of the existing tourism development potentials in the west coast sub-division.
This study will therefore assess these potentials in the West coast sub-division to determine their challenges in its development with the view of making recommendations for improvement.
- Research questions
Based on the above problems, the following research questions have been proposed.
- What are the tourist potentials in the West Coast Sub-division?
- To what extent have they been exploited for the development of tourism?
- What infrastructural facilities have been put in place to sustain the tourism sector in the region?
- What are the challenges affecting the development of sustainable tourism in the region and how can they be overcome?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
1.4.1 General objective
The general objective of this study is to evaluate the tourist potentials in the region, assess their level of exploitation, and formulate measures that could ensure their full exploitation to ensure the development of sustainable tourism in the West Coast Sub-division
1.4.2 Specific objectives
Specific objectives seek to:
- To identify and classify the tourist potentials in the West Coast Sub-division and classify them.
- To assess the level of exploitation of the potentials.
- To examine the level of development of infrastructural facilities to promote tourism in the region.
- To identify the challenges affecting the development of sustainable tourism in the region and propose solutions to alleviate them.
- Research Hypotheses
The study was carried out with the hypotheses:
- The poor state of development of some tourist potentials in the West Coast Sub-division has a significant influence on the inflow of tourists into the West Coast Sub-division
- Most of the tourist potentials are underexploited in the West Coast Sub-division because the inhabitants have little knowledge on how to exploit them.
- The low level of development of roads into tourist sites is responsible for the following nature of the tourist potential.