IMPACTS OF SUSTAINABLE TOURISM WITHIN THE SOUTH WEST REGION OF CAMEROON

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ABSTRACT

This Bachelor’s thesis is aimed to develop education and awareness of the local people of Cameroon and the South West Region in particular regarding the benefits of sustainable tourism. Hence this will help the people of Cameroon and likewise Africa nations as a whole. Sustainability is a growing phenomenon in the twenty-first first century and most of the African countries lack of education regarding this topic. The governments of many African countries have to create a platform to educate the masses on the benefits of sustainability especially in the tourism sector which is one of the world’s fast growing industries in recent times.

The thesis will be based on tourism in Africa and Cameroon in particular. Thus if the Cameroon government can invest more on education and sustainability in particular, Cameroonians will realize about the benefits they could obtain especially in the tourism sector. Consequently, Cameroon’s economy will grow as well as other African countries that will also educate their people on sustainable tourism Education and sustainability go hand in hand in any developing society, therefore if the African nations or Cameroon in particular want to attract many tourists in the future, the government has to carry out a proper sustainability project on education.

A qualitative research method was carried out by developing theme interviews. The main tourism impacts such as economic, socio-cultural and environmental were addressed in the research focus as the main problems affecting the promotion of tourism in Cameroon and the South West Region. The benefits of sustainable tourism are described to encourage all parties involved such as the government, the local people and the private sector to achieve this goal in the future. Moreover, one of the major problems facing African nations and Cameroon in particular are the preservation of infrastructures in the tourism sector and its products for the future generations. Solutions and suggestions were found from the analysis of the collected data that could help the African counties and Cameroon in to get a better tomorrow in the tourism industry. In addition, ideas and concepts to transform negative impacts into positive were created.


Keywords: Sustainability, Cameroon, Education, Economy, Development, Ecology, Socio-Cultural

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1 Introduction
            1.1 Structure of the Thesis
            1.2 Background of the Thesis
            1.3 The Research Method in the Thesis
            1.4 Research Questions
2 Cameroon as a Tourist Destination
            2.1 The History of Cameroon
            2.2 Geography
            2.3 People and Culture
            2.4 The South West Region of Cameroon
                        2.4.1 Geography
                        2.4.2 Tourism in South West Region of Cameroon
                        2.4.3 Culture
3 Tourism Industry
            3.1 Definitions and Concepts
            3.2 Tourism Development
4 Sustainable Development
            4.1 Economic Sustainability
            4.2 Socio-cultural Sustainability
            4.3 Environmental Sustainability
5 Sustainable Tourism
            5.1 Impacts of Tourism
            5.2 Positive Impacts in Tourism
            5.3 Negative Impacts in Tourism
            5.4 Economic Impacts in Tourism
            5.5 Socio-cultural Impacts in Tourism
            5.6 Environmental Impacts in Tourism
6 Research Method
            6.1 Qualitative Method
            6.2 Theme Interviews
            6.3 Data Collection
            6.4 Validity and Reliability
            6.5 Analyzing the Answers
7 Results
            7.1 Economic Impacts
            7.2 Socio-cultural Impacts
7.3 Environmental Impacts
8          Recommendations
9          Conclusion
Figures
Pictures


1        Introduction


Africa is the setting for the long dawn of human history. About a million years ago humans explore northwards out of this lovely continent called Africa. From about four million years age ape-like creatures walked upright on two feet in this continent. Thus some two million years ago, the first creatures to be classed as part of the human species evolve in Africa. From the late 15th century, Europeans and Arabs transported enslaved west, central and South Africans overseas in the African slave trade. Moreover, the European colonization of Africa developed rapidly in the scramble for Africa regardless of the slave trade. Meanwhile it was believed that Africa had up to 10.000 different states and autonomous groups with distinct languages and customs before it was colonized. Studying Africa’s history has been challenging for the researches because of lack of written materials. A critical study method for finding information about African history has been the recording of oral history, historical linguistics, archaeology and genetics. (Williams 1987, 162-174.)

The tourism industry is a major sector of the economy for many African countries. Despite the fact that there are 54 countries in Africa whereas only four of these countries benefits the most from the tourism industry and these countries are Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and South Africa. Nonetheless there is a second category of countries which also benefits in the tourism industry which are Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya. (Christie, Fer-nandes, Messerli & Twining-Ward 2014, 74-79.)

The Republic of Cameroon is a country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the West; Chad to the northeast; Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Meanwhile the country coastline lies on the Bight of Bonny, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. Cameroon is home to more than 200 different linguistic groups although French and English are the official languages. The country however is well known for its native styles of music, particularly makossa and bikutsi, and for its successful national team. In 2008, the president of the Republic of Cameroon signed decrees abolishing provinces and replacing them with regions. Hence all of the ten provinces in the country are now known as regions. (Loreto 1982, 5-11.) This thesis will be focus on the south west region of Cameroon which is one of the most touristic regions in the country due to its natural resources, culture and landscape like the mount Cameroon found in Buea which is the capital of the south west region.


Cameroon is one of those countries in Africa with a relatively minor industry which is still growing. Notwithstanding since the 1970s, the government of Cameroon has cultivated the industry by creating a ministry of tourism and by encouraging investment by airlines, hotels and travel agencies. Cameroon is known as Africa in Miniature promoting its diversity of cli-mate, culture and geography. Cameroon is a home to many of Africa’s iconic animals such as cheetahs, chimpanzees, elephants, giraffes, gorillas, hippopotami and rhinoceroses. (Tegomo, Defo & Usongo 2012, 54.)

1.1     Structure of the Thesis


This thesis is presented in nine chapters. In chapter one the introduction of the thesis, as well as details of the research methods throughout, are described. The chapter explains the research aim and introduces the final objectives, examines the research plan in particular the type of investigation and strategy. The presentation of data collection, administration and analysis methods identifies the research limitations. The second chapter describes the history of Cameroon, the People of Cameroon and as well as the culture of Cameroon. Also the South West Region of Cameroon, and important touristic towns and sites mostly visited by tourist and why they are mostly visited by tourists are described in the same chapter. Basic defini-tions of tourism and sustainability are found in chapter three, four and five.

The sixth chapter describes the research method chosen for this research and provides information about data collection as well as the conducted theme interviews. In chapter seventh, the results from interviews are provided to summarize the thesis in chapters eighth and ninth with recommendations as well as conclusions.

1.2     Background of the Thesis


The authors of this thesis are from Argentina and Cameroon and they share many similarities not only cultural but also challenges. Many developing countries have a potential in tourism and the countries would benefit on sustainable methods of tourism. After gaining basic information regarding Cameroon the authors decided to team up and research the impacts of sustainable tourism. Because one of the authors is from Cameroon there are more possibilities to obtain information regarding tourism from locals, governmental and private institutions. The focus area of the thesis is on the South West region of Cameroon. Working as a team the authors shared different ideas as well as knowledge on the subject.

There are plenty of natural resources that could be developed in a sustainable way to progress economically. Tourism has impacts in all kinds of aspects such as economic, environ-mental and cultural, there is a need for a proper study on how sustainable tourism impacts on the South West region of Cameroon. It is important to find the balance between progress and sustaining the cultural heritage. Finding the balance benefits all parties involved in tourism business. Locals who maintain their cultural heritage could benefit by becoming part of a tourist attraction. Tour operators and private companies could promote such attractions to...

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