Evaluation of tourist potentials for sustainable tourism development in Tiko Municipality
|TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT|
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The main focus of this study was to evaluate tourist potentials for sustainable tourism development in Tiko Municipality. The Introductory part to this the study provides an overview of the background of the study which shows in general what the study covers and the uniqueness of the study in Tiko municipality. This is followed by the statement of the problem where gaps in both theory and practice are identified. These gaps are further explained in the literature review which in essence indicates that Tiko lacks literature to directly answer the research questions and fulfill the research objectives. Therefore, a methodology was devised to cover the gaps and solve the research problem. In this light the qualitative method is presented and justified. It is further shown that interviews, questionnaires and document review were used to gather the information followed by data analysis. In conclusion this study presented a summary of the main points and made final conclusion. From these final conclusions both theoretical and pragmatic recommendations were formulated.
Background of the Study
Urban tourism is one of the most dynamic forms of tourism in recent years due to the cosmopolitan nature of towns, the diversity of their architecture and variation in the needs of urban settlers. As more people continue to drift into towns, cities, metropolis and conurbations, there is a clarion call by the United Nations Organization for municipalities to improve on their tourist potentials so that they continue to serve the needs of tourists. In this light, the concept of sustainable cities introduced in the late nineties was leveraged in Johannesburg in 2000. The notion of sustainable cities took its roots from the Garden City Movement where it was believed that there was a need for cities to provide green environments that could serve as eco-sites for urban dwellers and such sites often attract hundreds of national and international tourists. Although it is difficult to estimate, international tourist flows into municipalities, in the European Union, more than 550 million overnight stays have been observed (Muntele and Iaţu, 2006).
According to the World Tourism Organization, the development of sustainable tourism responds to the present needs of tourists and to those of the host regions, and also protects and increases future chances and opportunities. In the Municipalities of Amasya in Turkey and Zakopane in Poland (with rich natural history and culture), sustainable tourism has had an upper hand there. Every year, many tourists come to visit the cities (Sevinc et al., 2019).
In Africa in general and in Nigeria in particular, urban tourism has developed significantly in cities like Port Harcourt, Cairo, Marrakesh, Addis Ababa, Cape Town, Pretoria, Yaounde and Douala. In the former, tourists often visit the town to appreciate its culture, for transactions like business, sports, family and social events or shopping. Tourism has now become a virtual part of government agenda as more and more hospitality industries spring up in all cities providing relaxation spots to tourist and revenue to the government. In 2011, it was observed that more than 2 million tourists visited Nigeria for different activities and this amounted to $3.7 million US Dollars (Dekadt, 1999).
Cameroon is one of the countries in Sub- Sahara Africa where urban tourism is making its way into the landscape. The country is full of melting and contrasting views, which provide tourists with diverse spectacles or optique. This ancestral land lies between the ocean and the desert-like conditions. Sustainable tourism prevails in cities and municipalities of Cameroon like Limbe where the Botanic garden exists. Tiko, originally called ‘Keka’ by the Bakweris, is a town and important port in the South West Region of Cameroon. The current study will examine tourist resources in the municipality and the level of development of these resources is the principal focus of the study.
1.3 Statement of Problem
Tiko estuary appears as a colossus of landscape with hidden tourist resources that are currently fallowing. Unlike Limbe and Kribi, Tiko is not a tourist destination in the country, even though the municipality has the potentials to become one. Tiko municipality is endowed with rich natural resources that could develop the economy of the municipality if well exploited but unfortunately, such developmental efforts are still nightmarish as a gamut of the existing tourist resources are yet to be improved upon. The town has the following benchmark tourist resources: resorts, beaches, golf courses, airport, meandering rivers, agro-based plantations, cultural centers, market, colonial relics and gardens. One would expect that with these, since Tiko does not have several industries, the inhabitants may be making some money from tourism to complement the deficit in income and employment levels. But on the contrary, most of the above-mentioned resources are underexploited, underutilized and are little known by the general public due to a dearth of information on their intrinsic values. The tourism sector in the municipality is plagued by management lapses, poor funding, deterioration of infrastructure due to neglect, and a decline in the number of tourists who visit these tourist attractions, since they are no longer appealing to them.
More so, one cannot talk of development if the inhabitants of the area do not benefit from it, most of the inhabitants are not involved in the development and management of the tourist sites. The tourist activities are highly dependent on season or climate, making their visits to fluctuate. This dwindles the income generated from tourists. Furthermore, there are also problems of untrained personnel as most of the recreation and leisure sites in Tiko are managed by family members. Service provision is therefore poor, added to the poor state of existing infrastructure. There is also the problem of poor location, most of these leisure sites are constructed with makeshift structure close to the high way. This causes congestion especially at night and a general poor aesthetics of the environment. In short, the town is endowed with tourist potentials that have not been harnessed for the development of sustainable tourism and that the natural and manmade tourism potentials are yet to be exploited to attract tourists on a large scale.
1.4 Research Questions
1.4.1 General research question:
What are the touristic potentials for sustainable tourism development in Tiko municipality?
1.4.2. Specific Research Questions
The study was carried out with the research questions that:
- What are the various tourist attractions in the Tiko Municipality?
- How have the tourist resources been exploited in the Municipality?
- Which problems affect the full exploitation of the tourist resources?
- How can sustainable tourism be enhanced in the Tiko Municipality?
1.5. Research Objective
1.5.1 General Objective
The general objective of the study is to evaluate touristic potentials for Sustainable Tourism Development in Tiko Municipality.
1.5.2 Specific Objectives
Specific objectives seek to:
- identify tourist attractions in the Tiko Municipality
- assess their level of exploitation
- determine the problems affecting the sustainable exploitation of tourist resources in the region
- propose solutions that can enhance sustainable tourism development in the municipality