THE IMPACT OF TOURISM IN ALLEVIATING POVERTY IN NIGERIA
Tourism is one the largest and fastest growing industries in the world. It is an increasingly important source of income, employment and wealth in many countries. Its rapid expansion has, however, had detrimental environmental (and Scio- cultural) impacts on many regions. In this research I examine the main economic benefits and environmental impacts of tourism and review the development of the international sustainable tourism agenda. While much of international tourism activity takes place with the developed world, this research work will focus on the (economic) development of the industry in developing countries like Nigeria (Owerri Imo State) to be précised, I conclude that new approaches to sustainable tourism development in these countries should not only set to minimize local environmental impact, but also give greater priority to community participation and poverty alleviation. I argue in particular that more emphasis should be given to a pro poor tourism approach at both national and international levels.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Tourism is a short term movement of people to destination outside their residential areas primarily for leisure recreation, sport and business transactions. There is domestic and international tourism. Domestic is the movement within one’s state or country while international involved movement from one’s country to another. Modern tourist industry in the western world started in the 19th century with the wake of industrial revolution that increased the ranks of middle classes in Europe and United States and this led to the increase in number of people found themselves with both the money and the time to travel. Tourism world wide reputedly generates an estimate of 4 trillion dollars annually. Today tourism has become an all year business. In Nigeria, Owerri Imo State to be precise the impact of tourism have created job opportunities, and the increase in poverty alleviation has risen beyond expectation. It is a welcome development and will increase its impact if more attention is given to it, from all stakeholders, government etc.
Traditionally the impact of tourism has been measured in terms of its contribution to gross national product and employment created. Often tourism overall impact on the economy is estimated by looking at the effect of tourism expenditure through direct, indirect and induced spending using a multipher effect approach. Tourism growth is most often measured through increase in international arrivals, length of stay, bed occupancy, tourism expenditure and the value of tourism spending. However, none of these provide any means of determining the scale of the impact on the poor or even to trends which result from overall growth or decline on the poor. While in the literature there are references to the importance of tourism in the least developed countries (LDCs) developing countries, rural and marginalized areas there is very little consideration of the impact of tourism on the poor. The assumption has been that any tourism development will eventually benefit the poor through the “tickle down” effect. There can be no doubt that tourism development does employ those in the lower social and economic classes but then is growing body of evidence that generate low paying and low status employment. In addition, poorly planned and managed tourism can destroy ecological system raise the cost of living for local people and damage social and cultural traditions and life styles.
Until recently those engaged in tourism development have not sought to demonstrate the impact of tourism on poverty alleviation the focus has been on major economic impact and its potential to bring economic growth to poor and marginalized individuals and communities rather than on measuring and demonstrating specific impact on poverty. In the development community the focus of most interventions has shifted from identifying ways in which economic growth in developing countries can contribute to overall development to a much more specific focus on the alleviation of poverty.
There has been growing realization that economic growth may not necessarily alleviate poverty and that policy commitment to alleviate poverty can only be achieved if there is a specific and concerted effort to raise the well – being of the poor in developing countries. Within tourism planning and development there was also been a growing realization that tourism development may not be alleviating poverty and that proper tourism policies and practice must be developed. It clear manifestation of this new policy focus at the international and regional level can be seen in the policies and programme of various international organization such as the WTO, ESCAP and ADB.
The millennium development goals are the most recent and explicit statement of this commitment with an explicit focus on alleviating and reducing the numbers of people living the extreme poverty. It is widely recognized in the literature that poverty is multi- faceted. The poor have low incomes and lower levels of consumption than those who are not living in poverty. The poor are characterized by lack of purchasing power in the market and buy human underdevelopment, they are generally socially excluded and have minimal access to education, health and other forms of social welfare enjoyed by others in the society who are not poor, they suffer relative depravation and are generally marginalized in the decision making process. They generally lack marketable skills and have few employment opportunities. The poor lack access to saving and capital and generally experience high levels of vulnerability to changes in market conditions. The result is that their basic needs are met and do not have a state of well being their condition is sometimes referred to as “ill being”. The interest of this research work is aimed at a broader focus to tourism related poverty alleviation is important because it emphasizes the multi- faceted nature of poverty and the relevance of looking at the broad range of impact which tourism may have on livelihoods directing it focus on tourism Nigeria with more emphasize one Nekede zoo Owerri Imo state and beyond.
THE ORIGIN OF TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT
The word hospitality is derived from a French word “hospice” meaning to provide care and shelter for traveler. Walker (1999) observed that hospitality begun from France in 1443 by Nicols Rolin. The most known hospice was hospice Beaune in the Burgundy region, situated in one of the most beautiful regions in France, the Cole de Beavne located near Dijon. Beavne is taken as the capital of Burgundian Wireland, and their wine is the best so far. For instance, in Greece and Rome, it is traced to the ancient Greece and Rome (1700Bc). While is European continent, it is traced to the eight century when charlemageze built houses for pilgrims where the pilgrims rested, before continuing their journey to the holy land. The pilgrims were received in these rest houses so as to ensure repeat patronage.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In order to make a sound case for the benefit of tourism to the poor and poor communities there is need to move beyond the language of multiphers and “trickle down” and to identify specific benefits to poor individuals and communities. It claims are made about, for example facilitating local community access to the tourism market and building on and complementing existing livelihood strategies, there is a need to be able to identify which poor individuals and communities have benefited and by how much. This will required reliance on accounting rather than on economic and to report in detail on the specific poverty impact of tourism initiatives which are claimed to make a contribution to poverty alleviation. In addition, there is a need to be able to identify specifically which poor people benefit and by how much, where these benefits are not specifically financial and cannot easily be translated into financial terms there is a need to use auditable quantitative methods. This analysis will be particularly important in convincing the development agencies and banks that tourism can make a contribution to poverty alleviation.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The purposes of writing this research are as follows
i. To encourage people living in Nigeria to take their holidays therein and people from abroad to visit Nigeria.
ii. To encourage the provision and improvement of tourism amenities and facilities in Nigeria.
iii. To provide advisory and information services to state and local governments.
iv. To promote and undertake research in the field of tourism in the state and local government areas.
v. To render technical advice to state and local government in the field tourism and
vi. To register, classify and grade all hospitality and tourism enterprises, travel agencies and tour operators in such manners as may be prescribed.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
a. Does tourism provide foreign exchange earnings?
b. Does tourism bring about employment to the people?
c. Does tourism encourage improvement of facilities e.g hotels, good roads and other social infrastructures?
d. Does tourism contribute to environment and social improvements?
e. Does tourism helps in conserving wildlife?
f. Does tourism help to utilizer areas of low and unreliable rainfall which are not attractive to farmers?
1.5 STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESIS
In order to provide a guide to this study, the following hypotheses were formulated.
Ho: Tourism cannot alleviate poverty with economic gain through the creation of full employment or the development of SME opportunities through sales to tourism business or to tourist.
Hi: Tourism can alleviate poverty with economic gain through the creation of full part time employment or the development of SME opportunities through sales to tourism business or to tourist.
Ho: Tourism cannot alleviate poverty through other livelihood benefits such as access to portable water, roads which bring benefits to poor producers through, for example improved access markets, improved health or education etc.
Hi: Tourism can alleviate poverty through other livelihood benefits such as access to portable water, roads.
Ho: Tourism can alleviate poverty through opportunities and capacity for engagement in decision – making in order that the poor are able to improve their livelihood by securing better access to tourist and tourism enterprises.
Hi: Tourism cannot alleviate poverty through opportunities and capacity for engagement in decision making in order that the poor are able to improve their livelihood by securing better access to tourist and tourism enterprises.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
All those that may be interested and willing in carrying out further research/ study on poverty alleviation through tourism with references to Nekede zoo Owerri Imo state. Tourism destination in Nigeria will also derive great assistance from this research work in determining how to manage and fully developed in African and Nigeria to be precise as it in the developed countries of the world. The research work tries to outline ways of minimizing and ensuring that the readers understand very well the impact of tourism to poverty alleviation. In another related development, tourism offer job opportunities to individuals. Therefore I the researcher found out that this project work is important to readers because it talks more one tourism development and what it has contributed to the development of the economy.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
There are good numbers of tourist centers in Nigeria, featly speaking, it will not be a very east task to study all tourist centres in various stats and communities where tourist centres are situated so I the researcher picked Nekede zoo Owerri Imo state. It is this tourist centre that the study is based on. In this regards, the study becomes the impact of tourism to poverty alleviation with reference to Nekede 200 Owerri Imo State as one of the tourist centres. Moreover, this study, it is usually paramount (more important than anything else) to defined the scope of the study, thereby reducing the ambiguity (the state of having more than one possibly meaning) of reducing the whole tourist centres. However, the study is restricted to the impact of tourism to poverty alleviation with case study of Nekede zoo Owerri Imo State.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Some of the constraints encountered during the research work include the following.
i. Problem or limitation of shortage of finance
ii. Time constraints
iii. Dearth of statistical information
iv. Lack of research facilities
v. Problem of assessing the real information
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
TOURISM: Is a short term movement of people to destination outside their residential areas primary for leisure recreation, sport or business transactions.
TOURIST: A person who is traveling or visiting a place in pleasure.
DEVELOPMENT: A new event or stage that is likely to affect what happens in a continuing situation.
COMMUNITIES: The feeling of sharing and belonging to a group where you live.
POVERTY: The state of being poor, a lack of something.
ALLEVIATION: To make something less severe.