Enhancing and developing sustainable tourism through landscaping in Nigeria
The need to develop tourism and diversify as well as redirect the Nigerian economy away from crude oil as the sole foreign exchange earner is overwhelming for several reasons. Not only does tourism hold huge capacity to forge effective backward and forward linkages with the rest of the economy, it has proved to be a significant foreign exchange earner and a major source of employment and income in many developing countries. Given Nigeria’s many tourist attractions, tourism has the potential to attract huge internal capital investment as well as foreign direct investments necessary to enhance tourist infrastructure provisions and services. This is particularly so in rural areas given that most tourist attractions in Nigeria are rural based, and where tourism development can become a catalyst for rural development particularly where tourism is developed within the tenets of sustainable development. Presently, Nigeria’s tourism industry is rudimentary, undeveloped, and suffers from chronic shortages of infrastructure as well as supporting and enhancing institutions. In particular, the lack of awareness and appreciation for landscaping in particular, and the environment in general, has compounded the problems of tourism development in Nigeria. This research is motivated by the desire to understand the structure, conduct, and performance of the tourism sector in Nigeria and emphasise, amongst other factors, the significant role landscaping could play in the desire for sustainable tourism in Nigeria. In conducting the research, a mixed methods research approach was employed using the sequential strategy of quantitative survey; followed by a qualitative data gathering method using interviews. These were conducted among tourism stakeholders within two geopolitical zones in Nigeria, namely, the North-central and the South-west. This approach was informed by the pragmatic philosophy adopted by the researcher, which allows the triangulation of methods in order to come up with a more comprehensive and complementary results on the focus of this research. Data obtained were critically analysed using the Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSSx) and Nvivo8 software. The research identified setbacks which have prevented sustainable tourism development in Nigeria. Also is the need for the beautification of the attractions through landscaping as well as the provision of tourism infrastructures. The implication of the findings is that if landscaping is not made the centre of tourism policy, tourism is likely to fall short of expectation. A conceptual framework for the way forward was suggested based on the outcome of the analyses and two regression models developed and presented the roles landscaping could play in sustainable tourism and in Nigeria economic diversification. If implemented, the suggestions should provide a solid basis for redressing the current pitfalls in Nigeria’s tourism landscape.
- PhD