POKHARNESSING LOCAL FESTIVALS FOR TOURISM PROMOTION IN PARTS OF BENUE STATE

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ABSTRACT

Local festivals are increasingly being used as instrument for promoting tourism and boosting the regional economy. This is often reflected in the level of public assistance made available to these festivals. However, it is sometimes difficult to assess the contribution of traditional festivals to the growth of local economies. This study looks at three traditional festivals that take place annually in Benue State of Nigeria (Ejalekw, Igede Agbah, Kwagh-hir ). These festivals have very rich cultural heritage, cultural norms and customs. This research examined them, their tourism potentialities and how they can boost socio-economic development in Benue State.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page
Preface
List of Plates
List of Figures
Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1       Background of the Study
1.2       Statement of Problem
1.3       Research Objective
1.4       Research Methodology
1.5       Significance of the Study
1.6       Scope of the Study
1.7       Limitation of the Studies

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1       Theoretical Literature
2.2       Empirical Literature
2.3       Theoretical Orientation

CHAPTER THREE: BACKGROUND INFORMATION
3.1       Brief Geographical and Historical Background of the Area
3.2       Origin of Cultural Festival in Benue State
3.3       Idoma People and Culture
3.4       Igede People and Culture
3.5       Tiv people and Culture

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
4.1       Cultural Festivals in the Study Area
4.2       Eje-Alekwu Festival
4.3       Igede Agba Festival
4.4       Kwagh-hir Festival
4.5       Contribution of the Festivals to Tourism Promotion in Benue State
4.6       potentials of the Festivals
4.7       Harnessing the Potentials of the Festivals
4.8       Development Agenda of Benue State and Tourism

CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1       Summary
5.2       Conclusions
5.3       Recommendations
References


CHAPTER ONE

1.1:     Introduction
The relationship between tourism and local festivals is one of the most debated issues in tourism studies, some implicitly assume that local festivals promote tourism and tourism generates wealth that will gradually promote development.

Local festivals in Benue State have very rich culture, ritual, dance, that can capture the attention of tourists to a greater dimension. Local festivals can put forward the beauty of our culture and tradition. Festivals such as Eje-Alekwu in the Idoma area, the New Yam festival in the Igede area, and the Kwagh-hir in the Tiv speaking areas. These local festivals have potentially much larger repertoire of tourist products to offer, such as watching religious rituals, tour of historical sites and interactions with local hosts, masquerades of different kind. These local festivals have not been properly harnessed and packaged to unleash its tourism potential and the economic benefits for the local people.

There exists a general agreement among these local festivals in Benue state that projects cultural sustainability and unity amongst the people. However, the festivals can promote local empowerment which can lead to economic profit as they have all factors to attract tourists into Benue State.

The people of Benue State have very rich cultural heritage enshrined in local festivals. These festivals have historical and architectural platform that can converge the huge presence of tourists both at home and abroad if properly organized.

The Kwagh-hir festival of the Tiv has such display of the Tiv culture and traditional rites such as masquerades, dance, songs and Puppetry Theatre. Towns, villages and cities are interestingly keen to share their culture and environment with visitors. This study investigates how local festivals in Benue State can be tourist attraction in their own right and encourage tourists to visit local places in Benue State. This work will examine 3 of 10 festivals held yearly in some part of the state and how it can attract tourist which will lead to boosting sustainable local economic development.

Festivals as celebrated in the early years back are different from what we have in these modern days of civilization, globalization and Christianity. The Alekwu festival in those days were celebrated with a lot of sacrifices on shrine but Christianity made people to do away with some of these shrines, so now Alekwu is mostly made of masquerades of different types and colours come to visit markets on agreed three consecutive market days with a lot of fun, the Igede Agba is celebrated like any normal Christmas day but being concluded by a display in the chosen local government headquarter with invited guests from all nooks and corners of the state or outside state.

In the early days, the Kwagh-hir festivals at their rudimentary level but have now being modernized with other things including masquerades of different types and sizes.

These three major tribes (Igede. Idoma and Tiv)are differentiated from each other by the colour of clothes they use. The Idoma people wear the black and red, the Tiv wear black and white and the Igede black and blue.


1.2:     Statement of Problem

Traditional Festivals can be events usually and ordinarily staged by a local community that centers on some unique aspects of culture, music, plays, dances, acrobatics, puppetry, myths, rituals etc. Festivals are usually organized annually or at agreed period, where people of a particular community come together to dine and wine in order to celebrate and share common traditions. Traditional festivals in Benue state have not gained tourists attraction as a result of the way it is celebrated by the people. Enough awareness is not created to....


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