CULTURAL DIVERSIFICATION OF TOURISM AND THEIR IMPORTANCE (Case study: CAMEROON)

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ABSTRACT
Cultural tourism which began in the late 1970s is today gaining grown in the tourism sector Today, many people travel not only for leisure and pleasure but gain a deeper understanding of the culture of their various destinations. The multicultural aspect of Cameroon has enabled tourists to visit the country, thus making it famous. The culture of Cameroon is mostly expressed through festival, traditional dances and rituals which can be observed in some regions of Cameroon, such as the north west, the west, the north and the littoral, as analyzed in this thesis.

This thesis focused on cultural diversity of tourism and its importance. The main aim was to create awareness on what cultural tourism is about, and Moreover, to investigate the importance of cultural tourism for the Cameroonian community, and finally to analyze the impact of the development of cultural tourism in Cameroon. A qualitative research method was used because it enabled the author to be able to deal with a variety of empirical materials, case study, personal experience, life history interview and observation.

Cameroon has witnessed a considerable increase in the development of tourism most especially cultural tourism. The country hosts a number of festivities such as the Ngondo, the Nyem-Nyem and the Medumba which has been described and analyzed in this thesis. These festivities attract a large number of tourists who come to savor the rich and diversified cultural attractions. Today, tourism and particularly cultural tourism, has become a major source of income for the country and for the entire Cameroonian communities.

In a nation where the industrial sector is not developed, tourism, especially cultural tourism, is the way to improve the economic situation of the community. Cameroon, Africa in miniature is a country blessed with different cultural diversities which makes it a touristic destination for national and international tourists. Even though the industry of cultural tourism is not free from limitation, it can still be greatly developed if proper policies and plans are being furnished and implemented.

Keywords: Cultural diversity, importance, Tourism


TABLE OF CONTENTS

1 INTRODUCTION
2 AN OVERVIEW OF CAMEROON
2.1 Tourism in Cameroon
2.2 Tourist attractions in Cameroon
2.3 Cultural tourist attractions
2.3.1 Eco-tourist attractions
2.3.2 Seaside resort tourist attractions
2.3.3 Altitude (mountain) tourist attractions
2.3.4 Sports tourist attractions
2.3.6 National parks for safari tourist attractions

3 AN OVER VIEW OF CULTURAL TOURISM
3.1 The emerging aspect of cultural tourism
3.2 The present and the past evolution of the tourism industry
3.3. Definition of culture
3.4 Cultural tourism

4 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
4.1 Research methods
4.2 Research analysis
4.2.1 The Ngondo cultural festival
4.2.2The Nyem-Nyem cultural festival
4.2.3 The Medumba cultural festival
4.3 The importance of cultural tourism for Cameroon
4.4 The impact of cultural development in Cameroon
4.5 Problems facing cultural tourism in Cameroon

5 CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSIONS

REFERENCES


1 INTRODUCTION

Our different ways of life and cultural backgrounds have been seen to motivate the minds of many people to seek out novelty and experience new things. Tourism, which is not that old an industry and which dates back to the 17the century, has seen a transformation in recent years in various branches, and in constant transformation when adapting to the needs of the audience and those of the tourists. With no concise and agreeable definition on tourism, scholars in the 1990‟s approached tourism in terms of demand and supply. Cultural tourism has become a major “new” area for tourism demand, with almost all policy-makers being aware of the anxious need for development.


Cultural tourism is today a pillar because it serves as a strategy for growth for many countries and the local people used this as a means to boost their local culture. (Richard, 1996).In recent years, tourism has become a fast growing sector in Cameroon, as a result of the fact that Cameroon commonly known as Africa in miniature is blessed with different cultural and historical events, some of which are celebrated annually.

The government of Cameroon has in its own rights promoted the tourism industry on both national and international level. Over the past years, cultural tourism has become a source of attraction, as the country has witnessed an increase in national and community activities, which are events organized by communities, event organizers and the government with the aim of promoting tourism and attracting tourists.

Cultural event tourism is now being used by local communities to market them as destination region by exploiting the full potentials of hosting cultural event which has attracted both local and international tourists.


Cultural tourism in Cameroon is on the rise with awareness being created by the government, the private sector and the local communities. Cameroon, a country with cultural diversity, has during the past few years hosted different types of cultural events such as the Ngondo cultural event, the Nyem- Nyem annual festival, and the Medumba festival.

These various events are of major size and have attracted millions of tourists to Cameroon, and most tourists always come back to take part in such festivals whenever they are being organized. This has increased the number of tourists that enter the country every year.



Despite the fact that Cameroon is blessed with different cultural attractions, the author will focus mostly on the Ngondo festival in the littoral region, the Medumba in the western region and the Nyem-Nyem in the adamawa region. These events are the most popular one in Cameroon.

Today, the government of Cameroon greatly supports and promotes the hosting of cultural events as a part of the nation building agenda and cultural diversification program, economic development and destination marketing. Cultural tourism today is a rapidly growing niche market. This market is gaining grounds through the increasing number of domestic and international tourist, and thus, increasing the availability of global communication.

The purpose of this research is to outline the various touristic potentials in Cameroon, most especially cultural tourism and how it can boost the economic situation of the country. This can be done by looking into Cameroon‟s geography, ethnicity, history and cultural diversity.


The topic was chosen because of the author‟s interest in investigating the importance of the cultural aspect to the local people, the government and the tourist. The main aim of this study is to understand the aspect of cultural tourism. Another objective is to analyse the different problems caused by cultural tourism in Cameroon and bring some possible recommendations.

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