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PROJECT TOPIC- ANALYSIS OF THE SUSTAINABILITY OF TOURISM IN THE RURAL AREAS OF EAST ZONE OF NIGERIA, WITH OGUTA AS CASE STUDY

PROJECT TOPIC- ANALYSIS OF THE SUSTAINABILITY OF TOURISM IN THE RURAL AREAS OF EAST ZONE OF NIGERIA, WITH OGUTA AS CASE STUD.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Rural tourism is an old and a new phenomenon at the same time. Interest in countryside recreation started to grow already in the 19th century as a reaction to the stress of the increasing urbanization and industrialization. The rural scene was admired by poets and artists. In the then developing countries, the new railway companies transported more and more tourists to the countryside. However, the rural

tourism of our era is different. The number of tourists involved has increased significantly and tourism has developed in all types of countryside instead of being limited to areas of exceptional scenic beauty. Rural tourism refers to as tourism that takes place in the countryside. However, this definition does not include the complexity of the activity and the different forms and meanings developed in different

countries. Hence, more broadly defined, rural tourism includes a range of activities, services and amenities provided by farmers and rural people to attract tourists to their area in order to generate extra income for their business ( Ganon, 1988, Kloeze, 1994 ). Rural tourism covers not only farm tourism or agritourism, but also special interest nature holidays, touring in rural areas and residential

tourism and the services include besides accommodation events, festivities, outdoor recreation, production and sale of handicrafts and agricultural products etc. The term “rural tourism” has different meanings in different countries. In Finland, for example, it usually means renting out cottages to visitors or providing catering services in the countryside. In Hungary, a special term of “village tourism” exists

, indicating that only activities and services provided in village are included in this kind of tourism. In Slovenia, the most important form of rural tourism are family farms, where guests stay either with the farmer family or in a quest house, but visiting farms to have a meal and explore the farmyard is also popular (Verbole, 1995 ). In the Netherlands, the rural tourism product means especially camping on the

farm, with most farm services being linked to route-bound activities as cycling, walking or house-riding ( Peters, 1994 ). In Greece, the main provision of rural tourism product is bed and breakfast often based on home-made products complementary activities – currently still on a limited scale – include restaurants and refreshment facilities or the organization of cultural and recreational activities ( Turner,

1993 ). Rural tourism seems to be an appropriate tool to revitalize the declining rural areas and to ensure their sustainable future by job retention or even job creation, increased job diversity, service retention, farm support, broadened cultural provision, landscape and nature conservation or the maintenance of rural arts and crafts as tourist attractions. Rural tourism often provides an incentive (and part of the

necessary funding) for infrastructural development, which then contributes to the growth of other economic activities in rural areas. A specific benefit of rural tourism development cab be the increasing number of opportunities for social interaction for local people who often live relatives isolated lives in agricultural communities (Swarbrooke, 1996). Sustainable tourism has several often seriously debated

definitions. According to the definition of the Federation of Nature and National Parks, sustainable tourism is all forms of tourism development, management and activity that maintain the environmental, social and economic integrity and well-being of natural, built and cultural resources in perpetunity ( FNNP< 1993 ). A publication by the tourism concern and the  World Wide Fund for Nature defines

sustainable tourism as tourism which “operates within natural capacities for the regeneration and future productivity of natural resources, recognizes the contribution that people and communities, customs and lifestyles, make to the tourism experience, accepts that these people must have an equitable share in the economic benefits of tourism; and is guided by the wishes of local people and communities in the host

areas ( Tourism Concern and WWF, 1992). Sustainable tourism development has to be economically viable and naturally and culturally sensitive at the same time. Concerning environmental sustainability, experiences suggest that considerable investment needs to be undertaken in the environmental management of vulnerable natural assets in order to make rural tourism in any sense sustainable.

Tourists are usually most attracted by the industrially least developed regions, which are particularly sensitive to human interference. In addition, managed agricultural landscape do not always meet the expectations of tourists based on the images of “traditional rural” landscape represented in the tourist literature and in promotional materials. Tourism development also influences the socio-cultural

characteristics of rural destinations, both in positive and negative way ( Keane and Quinn, 1990; Peters, 1994 ). Hence, this study has been designed to analyze the sustainability of tourism in the rural areas of East Zone of Nigeria, with Oguta as case study.

PROJECT TOPIC- ANALYSIS OF THE SUSTAINABILITY OF TOURISM IN THE RURAL AREAS OF EAST ZONE OF NIGERIA, WITH OGUTA AS CASE STUD.

1.2   Problem Statement

 Rural tourism holds the possibility for positive as well as negative impacts on the socio-cultural, economic and physical environment of host communities. Hence, it is necessary to ensure that tourism development comply with best practices or principles that make for sustainability. In Nigeria, particularly    in the South East Zone, there seems to be total lack of co-ordination and monitoring of

tourism at the grassroots to ensure compliance to best practices. The problem that is identified here is that there is no scientific knowledge on how tourism activities are really carried out in the rural communities’ vis-à-vis the question of sustainability. Hence, this work is designed to bridge this gap by investigating a prominent tourism destination; namely, the Oguta lake complex. The investigation will seek answers to the following questions:-

i.    What is the level of community participation and control of

tourism activities\business?

ii.   Are there proper linkages between local business and

tourism?

iii.     How does tourism activities impact on local cultures,

tradition as well as the natural environment\tourism    resources?

iv.   What experiences do visitors to these attractions go home

with?

 1.2. Objectives Of The Study

The broad objective of this study is to analyze the sustainability of rural tourism around the Oguta Lake in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State.

The specific objectives include to:-

 

  1. assess the level of community participation in tourism development in the destination;
  2. assess the existence of linkages between local businesses and tourism activities in the area;
  3. assess the impact of tourism activities on the culture, traditions and natural environment of the study destination

1.3 Reseach Question

 

  1. describe the tourism products offered in the study destination;
  2. describe the socio-cultural and economic characteristics of the destination community;
  3. describe the socio-economic characteristics of tourism-services providers and visitors to the destination;

PROJECT TOPIC- ANALYSIS OF THE SUSTAINABILITY OF TOURISM IN THE RURAL AREAS OF EAST ZONE OF NIGERIA, WITH OGUTA AS CASE STUD.

1.4     Justification Of The Study

This study when completed will be of immense values to government, Institutions, non-governmental and private agencies as well as destination communities in the design, management and administration of tourism business in the rural areas in the region. The research result will also add to the gradually building literature on tourism in Nigeria and will invariably be an important source of information to future researchers and general readers.

PROJECT TOPIC- ANALYSIS OF THE SUSTAINABILITY OF TOURISM IN THE RURAL AREAS OF EAST ZONE OF NIGERIA, WITH OGUTA AS CASE STUD.

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