Examining cultural potentials of the Bafaw people for the promotion of sustainable tourism development in Meme Division
|Tourism and Hospitability Management|
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Heritage tourism begun to be recognized as a distinct category in the late 1970s when tourism marketers and tourism researchers realized that some people travelled specifically to gain a deeper understanding of the cultural and heritage of a destination.
The study seeks to identify the cultural potential of the Bafaw people, to assess the contribution of these cultural potentials of the Bafaw people towards sustainable development of tourism in Meme, to identify the problems encountered by the Bafaw people in sustainable development of cultural tourism in Meme and propose recommendations for harnessing cultural potentials towards development of cultural tourism in Meme.
The tourism sector is faced by the challenges of not been officially recognized by local population of Meme division, accounting for the low rate of cultural tourism development and has receive very little support nor promotion as having any potential for foreign exchange earnings, creating jobs and engineering economic growth in Meme.
The study made use of both primary and secondary data that were obtained through field survey, questionnaires and interview and were analysed with the aid of Microsoft Excel Vs 2016 and presented using percentages and tables.
Data obtained from the field proved that cultural potentials of the Bafaw people was facing some challenges in promoting sustainable cultural tourism.
This work came to an end by making some recommends such as more should be done by the Ministry of tourism to ensure that adequate training is offered to local authorities to be able to handle issues of cultural tourism. Training should take place in the domain of tour guiding, how to market their rich cultural potentials to the outside world.
This study focuses on harnessing the cultural tourism potentials of the Bafaw people for the promotion of sustainable development in Meme Division, South West region of Cameroon .This introductory chapter provides background of the research, problem statement, research questions, objectives of the research, hypothesis, scope, significance of the study and closes with definitions of operational terms.
Heritage tourism begun to be recognized as a distinct category in the late 1970s when tourism marketers and tourism researchers realized that some people travelled specifically to gain a deeper understanding of the cultural and heritage of a destination (Walle, 1996).
Walle (1996) alluded that cultural tourism may make important economic contributions to a destination or region that supports it.
Culture and cultural tourism were two of the major growth industries of the 20th century and towards the end of century, the combination of these two sectors into cultural tourism had become one of the most desirable development options for countries and regions around the world (Richard, 2009).
Within the modern tourism format in the 21st century, the cultural element, which is inherent or representative of tourism destinations, plays an important role in attracting tourists and exchanging the values of cultural heritage.
McIntosh and Goeldner (1986) consider cultural tourism as comprising all aspects of travel, whereby travelers learn about the history and heritage of others or about their contemporary ways of life or through. In other words, cultural tourists are motivated to learn about the products and processes of other cultures.
Cultural tourism is experiential tourism based on being involved in and stimulated by the performing arts, visual arts, and festival.
Cultural tourism sometimes refers to as Heritage tourism, whether in the form of visiting preferred landscapes, historic sites, buildings or monuments, is also experiential tourism in the sense of seeking an encounter with nature or feeling part of the history of the place (Hall and Zeppel, 1990).
This form of tourism on the other side refers to a broad field of specialty travel, based on nostalgia for the past and the desire to experience diverse cultural landscapes and forms.
The range of cultural tourism activities includes the use of such cultural heritage assets as archaeological sites, museums, castles, palaces, historical buildings, famous buildings, ruins, art, sculpture, crafts, galleries, festivals, events, music and dance, folk arts, theatre, primitive cultures, subcultures, ethnic communities, churches, cathedrals and other things that represents people and their cultures (Richards, 1996).
Therefore, cultural tourism is seen as a part of the mix of what makes a particular destination appeal to prospective cultural tourists, the industry is also increasingly appreciated as a positive force for natural and cultural preservation and can capture the economic characteristic of a heritage leading to sustainable development (Akama, 2002).
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 (Earth Summit) and Johannesburg Conference in 2002, conﬁrmed the conﬁguration of the principle of sustainable development “Our Common Future” based on three interdependent factors: environmental protection, economic growth, and social development in achieving sustainability in cultural tourism.
Also cultural tourism and cultural heritage plays a marginal role in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
It is explicitly mentioned only once in the goal 11, that is referred to the cities, in particular to the need of making cities and human settlements “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, through “inclusive and sustainable urbanization, planning and management” and more “efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage (Nocca, 2017).
Cultural Tourism gives visitors the opportunity to understand and appreciate the essential character of a place and its culture as a whole, including its: history and archaeology; people and their lifestyle (including the ways in which they earn a living and enjoy their leisure); cultural diversity; arts and architecture; food, wine and other local produce; social, economic and political structures and landscape.
Sustainable cultural tourism development can be said to be is a tourism attempting to make a low impact on the environment and local culture as possible, while helping to generate future incentives to host communities while ensuring that development brings a positive experience for local people, tourism companies and the tourist (Reisinge et al, 2003).
Internationally, cultural tourism business represent about one third of all tourism business and is one of the key drivers of destination attractiveness and competitiveness (OECD, 2009).
Also, in most regions of the world, particularly in Europe like Britain and North America, like Brazil cultural attractions have become important in the development of tourism. For instance in India is Hodka in Gujarat which is well known for its fine handicrafts.
According to Dilys et al, (2001) the tour package for Hodka includes visits to crafts villages which would educate visitors about the handicraft as well as offer them the opportunity to buy it. Tourism can be used to revitalize the declining rural areas and improve the living standards of people in the rural areas.
Swarbrooke (1996) pointed out that rural tourism development increase the number of opportunities for social interaction for local people who often live relatively isolated lives in agricultural communities. At the global level, cultural attractions are usually perceived as being icons of important streams of global culture (Richards et al, 2013).
This global conception of culture has led to the designation of World Heritage sites which attracts millions of tourists yearly. Whereas, at the national and /or local level, culture is seen as playing an important role in establishing and reinforcing peoples unique identities and a sense of belonging to a particular locale.
The recognition of the role of culture in creating and reinforcing peoples identities has, in recent years, played a significant role in the growing interest in diverse aspects of heritage tourism of Hodka of Indian Dilys et al, (2001).
Local communities such as Oromo, 60% of Ethiopia’s population, in sub-Saharan Africa are usually perceived as having a comparative advantage in the development of tourism as they benefit more from cultural tourism development in the sense that they have access to employment opportunities and also realize some incomes.
This is due to the fact that they possess unique indigenous cultural and nature-based attractions that the Western tourists lack in their transformed and urbanized environments (Butler and Hall 1998).
Many Western tourists are haggling for these forms of touristic attractions in order to escape from the perceived monotony of everyday life in the often over-crowded and congested urban conglomerates.
In this regard, tourists want to travel to other places, albeit temporarily, in order to escape from the monotony of routine life and are, therefore, looking for alternative environments that are perceived as having fascinating indigenous cultures and pristine nature attractions (Sharpley 1997).
A notable example worth mentioning is the Egyptians culture that is very ancient and culturally rich civilization. This is demonstrated proudly through the astounding architecture, relics and artifacts that are dotted all over the country.
The country has gone through various eras of cultural evolution as it passed from one set of administrators to another starting from the rule of Pharaohs to Greco-Roman period in 332 B.C to the byzantine period and ultimately the Islamic conquest of Egypt in A.D 624.
This makes Egypt an ideal place for cultural tourism as it has no end of attractions and history for the tourists to enjoy and the traditions of its peoplen are still a living breathing reality which is waiting to be unearthed and experienced.
To classify the expansive amount of tourist attractions in Egypt it would be appropriate to narrow them down to two categories: tangible assets and intangible assets.
Egyptian traditions are a mixture of Arabian, Turkish and European countries as the forefathers of the civilization belonged or had travelled to different places around the world and brought back several beliefs and practices with them.
But mainly the country is embedded in the rich and colourful culture of Middle East due to its geographical location (Jansen-Verbeke et al, 2010).
Cameroon, with more than 250 ethnic groups it opportune to have different cultural resource that are capable of attracting tourism leading to sustainable growth of hot communities (Yenshu, 2011).
This rich cultural diversity of Cameroon could be seen in the aspect of Tangible heritage: Physical manifestation or symbol of cultural expressions or traditions of the societies that are living or lived in the area.
Monuments, traditional buildings, archaeological sites, temples, historic cities, etc. are examples of tangible heritage. Intangible heritage: Non-physical manifestation of cultural expressions and traditions of a society that has its roots in the cultural values and practices of the previous generations.
Traditional ways of life, social practices, festivals, music, craftsmanship, etc. are examples of intangible heritage making Cameroon over the past years a cultural tourism destination.
Cultural tourism has become a source of attraction, as the country has witnessed an increase in national and community activities leading to socio-political, economic and cultural development in Cameroon.
An example of a rich cultural destination in Cameroon is the Foumban Royal Palace and its Museumthat are historical building in the city of Foumban, capital of Noun. The palace itself built in the early stage of century was inspired by German architecture King Njoya had seen in Buea.
This palace and museum hold a large legacy of its people as it is entirely dedicated to the Bamun people, its history coming from the Tikar plateaux, the kingdom’s expansion, its interaction with its neighbors, islam, and then with the German and French colonizers. It goes through the different Bamun dynasties, and some of the great kings ( FineandJonathan, 2016).
It is very precise as to the customs and tradition of the people and development of script in Bamum language and art that has promoting cultural tourism development and sustainability in the wet region of Cameroon over the years (Dell and Simon, 2016).
Nevertheless the South West region of Cameroon have abundant cultural potential that the study will make an analysis of it, and the current level in sustainable development most especially in Meme division.
Clarke (2008) argued that various problems in cultural tourism development are due to lack of coordination and cohesion among the stakeholders in the tourism industry. At the same time (Bendix, 2009) states that despite the majority of discussions on economic and socio-cultural challenges, cultural tourism developers forget sacred and spiritual sites which have a potion of tangible values which possesses a unique intangible meaning for the local communities and the religious groups.
Most entrepreneurs working in this industry do finance themselves through reinvented profits even though the profits are inadequate since most heads of these enterprises have a heavy family.
Furthermore, the tourism sector is faced by the challenges of not been officially recognized by local population of Meme division, accounting for the low rate of cultural tourism development and has receive very little support nor promotion as having any potential for foreign exchange earnings, creating jobs and engineering economic growth in Meme.
Meme division is endowed with cultural resources that are unique in one way or another but are not adequately exploited for cultural tourism development, this is as a result of cultural and environmental degradation, limited financial resource and no sensitisations of the local community on the importance of existing cultural potential that are being misused.
This study will help investigate the existing cultural resources and how they can be harnessed for tourism development
- What are the cultural tourist resources of the Bafaw people?
- How can these resources contribute to the development of cultural tourism in Meme?
- What are some of the existing challenges faced by this cultural resource for sustainable development of tourism in Meme?
- What are some of the possible solution to boot the harnessing of these cultural potentials towards development of cultural tourism in Meme?
The study seeks to examine cultural potentials of the Bafaw people for the promotion of sustainable tourism development in Meme Division.
- To identify the cultural potentials of the Bafaw people
- To assess the contribution of these cultural potentials of the Bafaw people towards sustainable development of tourism in Meme.
- To identify the problems encountered by the Bafaw people in sustainable development of cultural tourism in Meme.
- To propose recommendations for harnessing cultural potentials towards development of cultural tourism in Meme.