ASSESSING THE BENEFITS OF THE HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM INDUSTRY ON THE SOCIO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF NIGERIA
ASSESSING THE BENEFITS OF THE HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM INDUSTRY ON THE SOCIO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF EKITI STATE)
This study was intended to assess the benefits of the hospitality and tourism industry on the socio economic development of Nigeria. This study was guided by the following objectives; To explore tourism potentials of Ekiti state, To examine the challenges facing hospitality and tourism industry of Ekiti state, To assess the socio-economic impact of hospitality and tourism industry in Ekiti state.
The study employed the survey research design; questionnaires in addition to library research were applied in order to collect data. Primary and secondary data sources were used and data was analyzed using the chi-square statistical tool at 0.05% level of significance which was presented in frequency tables and percentage. The respondents under the study were 30 staff of Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ekiti State.
The study findings revealed that Tourism and hospitality industry plays a significant role in the socio-economic development of ekiti state. The tourism and the hospitality industry has significant effect on income generation in ekiti state. The cultural and political impacts of tourism and hospitality industry have increased overtime in Nigeria. The paper will aid policy makers in various institutions and machineries of government to take informed decisions on matters concerning hospitality and tourism in the state
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Tourism is a rapidly growing phenomenon and has become one of the largest industries in the world. The impact of tourism varies extremely. On one hand, it plays an important and certainly positive role in the socio economic and political development in destination countries by, for instance, offering new employment opportunities. Also, in certain instances, it may contribute to a broader cultural and understanding by creating awareness, respecting the diversity of cultures and ways of life. On the other hand, it is a tool to create jobs. Tourism has been a major driver of socio-economic development in Western society; it is an alternative strategy for sustainability and diversification of economy for important policy of a good government.
In recent times, tourism is one of the largest industries that have contributed to the socio-economic growth of many countries especially countries where tourism is the mainstay of her economy, World Tourism Organization (WTO, 1998; cited in Ejaetal, 2012 and Ojo, 2014). Despite the fact that that industry is a vehicle for promoting cultural exchange that enhances international understanding and goodwill among the diverse peoples of the world, it is also a catalyst for enhancing many country destination employment opportunities, foreign exchange and infrastructural facilities (ESCAP, 2002; cited in Ejaetal, 2012).
The development of tourism as a critical sector of the economy has gradually assumed a centre stage in the economic agenda of most nations of the world. In the past few decades, international attention on tourism as a critical sector of the economy has greatly increased. This is in view of its capacity to quickly stimulate income growth, generate foreign exchange and contribute to domestic earnings of government through fees and taxes (Vanguard Newspaper, June 24, 2011). The interest in tourism by the Nigeria’s government started way back in the 1960s with the Obasanjo’s regime in 1976 establishing the Nigeria Tourism Board (NTB) now Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) via Decree No. 54 of 1976 reviewed to Decree No. 86 of 1991 and giving it a ‘preferred sector’ status respectively. Master Plan on tourism development in Nigeria started in 1982 with a tourism development policy first rolled out in 1990. To further consolidate the quest for quality service delivery in the tourism industry, the government created the Federal Ministry of Tourism and Culture to actualize the dream of catching up with the global train in tourism development (Munzali, 2011).
Tourism has always been regarded as a means of economic modernization, but has not been seriously considered as a means of social and cultural modernization. The concept of socio-economic modernization emphasizes improvements in various indicators, including improvement in living conditions and the quality of life and well-being of populations (Owan, 2012).According to Boo (1992), tourism has recently been assumed as the world largest employer of labour and most safe of all the industries with regards to atmospheric pollution. Tourism has been describe by Cross (1998) as an industry of globalization which has witnessed people of different nations. As this happens, new friendships are established, interpretation of cultural differences resulting in greater tolerance occur, and global diversities are better appreciated and understood. Thus, the emergence of a synthetic global culture has been largely predicted since 1956 to become a reality (UNESCO, 2007).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Although tourism plays an important role in theeconomy of some countries, tourism in Africacontinent is yet to reach its full economic maturity(Nwosu, 2002). It has been observed that tourism inNigeria still suffers from neglect because the local,state and federal governments of Nigeria are stillindifferent to tourism development despite thepreferred status accorded the accorded the sector(Edun, 2009). Based on this, Nigeria as a country hasseveral potentials that have not been given attention.