The study was an assessment of the e-tourism in Nigeria with focus on examining internet as a tool for tourism marketing in the country. The study sought to determine the significant relationship between website and tourism product awareness; and also evaluate the extent social media marketing affect the level of patronage of tourism products in Cross River State. The area of study was Cross River State, while the study frame were tourism stakeholders, tourism managers/staff and both local and international tourists found in the twelve (12) tourism destinations selected for this study. The sample size of the study was 120 and primary data were obtained using a structured questionnaire. The instrument was content-validated, while the Cronbach Alpha coefficient was used to confirm the reliability. Data analysis was done electronically by the use of Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 21. Among the findings were that the website marketing did not have any significant relationship on the level of awareness of tourism products in Cross River State. Also, social media marketing did not significantly affect the level of patronage of tourism products in Cross River State. It is then recommended that the website and other internet tools should be efficiently handled preferably by experts to generate and maintain interest and level of patronage of Cross River State’s tourism products. 

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). 

Tourism is a viable factor in the World economy. The rise of travel and tourism has shown significant resilience globally. Despite slow economic growth in advanced economies and geopolitical tensions in some regions, the Travel and Tourism sector still accounts for a large part of the global economy (estimated to be approximately 9% of global GDP or US$ 7 trillion) and employment, while the number of international travellers continue to increase. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC, 2015), the travel & tourism sector is forecast to continue growing at 4% annually—faster than financial services, transport and manufacturing (Crotti and Misrahi, 2015). Meke (2008) notes that over the past six decades, tourism has witnessed progressive growth and diversification which has made it one of the leading, largest and fastest growing economic sectors of the world. For instance, in 2012, tourists from China spent $102 billion (U.S.) on international travel. According to the UN World Tourism Organization, this figure for the first time ranks China top among spenders in international tourism—ahead of Germany and the United States. International tourists from each of these two countries spent about $84 billion (U.S.) (Awake!, 2014). 

In Nigeria, Tourism has significantly contributed to the nation’s development in various ways such as generation of employment opportunities, enhanced brand image, income generation and solving the problem of balance of payment deficit, boosting Gross Domestic Products and increasing the nation’s per capita income (Egbaji, 2007). The World Development Indicators (2002) cited in Esu, Arrey, Basil and Eyo (2011) reports that Nigeria tourism demand growth will be $3.30 million (U.S.), accounting for 7.70 percent of the world market share and its contribution to job creation, projected at 6.40 percent in the national economy per annum between 2006 and 2015. However, according to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report (2015), the World Economic Forum Opinion Survey rates the effectiveness of Nigeria’s marketing to attract tourists at 3.3 out of a 7-point scale (1 being the worst score and 7 being the best score). It is also important to note that Nigeria is ranked 141th position in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index. Hence, it is obvious that in as much as tourism has assumed an increasing growth potential and is important in the sociocultural and economic development of Nigeria, there is need for improvement of the effectiveness of tourism marketing in the nation. 

Nigeria, the giant of Africa, has enormous tourism potentials and marketable tourism products ranging from diverse species of wildlife and aquatic creatures, appealing sandy beaches, beautiful green vegetation of her mangrove forest, unique cultural dynamics, beautiful hotels and restaurants, enticing parks and very friendly and hospitable people (Egbaji, 2007). Most of these inexhaustible tourism products can be found across the three senatorial districts which comprise of the eighteen local governments in Cross River State. Little wonder it is referred to as the ‘Tourism Hub of the Nation’. The state’s tourism products consist of wildlife species, mountain climate, alluring hills, fascinating waterfalls, beautiful parks, rich cultural heritage, welcoming hotels, appetizing dishes, Africa’s biggest street party- Calabar Carnival, the list is endless as some of these sites are yet to be discovered. 

For a state like Cross River full of natural and inexhaustible tourism resources yet with limited industrial capability, it is undeniable that tourism remains a very important source of internally generated revenue (Egbaji, 2007). This gives indication that the tourism products of Cross River State would require effective and sustainable marketing strategy to boost its sales and consumption. It is to this end that this study is poised to assess the internet as a tool for tourism marketing in Cross River State. 

Although tourism plays an important role in the economy of some countries, tourism in Africa continent is yet to reach its full economic maturity (Nwosu, 2002). It has been observed that tourism in Nigeria still suffers from neglect because the local, state and federal governments of Nigeria are still indifferent to tourism development despite the preferred status accorded the accorded the sector (Edun, 2009). Based on this, Nigeria as a country has several potentials that have not been given attention.However, the State’s tourism potential has been underdeveloped as there are a relatively large number of sites which have not been visited due to inadequate or lack of promotion, as such, these sites are not generating sufficient revenue for the state. In as much as the products, price and distribution are in order, the promotional strategies pose a challenge, hence, the need for the appraisal of a promotional strategy whose reach extends to the international or global community, and that is internet marketing. 

Research Objectives 
The broad objective sought was to assess the extent internet could serve as a strategic tool for tourism marketing in Cross River State, Nigeria. The specific objectives were: 

i. To determine the impact of website in promoting tourism products awareness in Cross River State. 

ii. To ascertain the relationship between social media marketing and the level of tourism products patronage in Cross River State. 
Research Hypotheses 

The following null-hypotheses were tested: 

i. Ho: Website marketing has no significant impact in promoting tourism product awareness in Cross River State, Nigeria. 

ii. Ho: There is no significant relationship between social media marketing and level of patronage of tourism products in Cross River State, Nigeria. 

Significance of the Study 
This study will be of immense benefit to all the stakeholders of tourism development in Cross 

River State and Nigeria at large. It will help the Tourism Development Commission, the Tourism Bureau and the government of Cross River State to effectively strategize on the use of the internet to increase the state tourism market reach, enhance communication with existing and potential customers, provide accessible information and develop the state tourism brand image, thus, rejuvenating Cross River’s tourism growth potentials and increase its contribution to the economy. 

Scope of the Study 
The study encompassed the overview of tourism, the tourism potential of Cross River State, tourism products, internet marketing, social media tools, customers’ patronage of tourism products, tourism product awareness and the implications on tourism business in general. The study frame consisted of local and international tourists as well as management, staff and indigenes of select destinations in Cross River State, Nigeria. 

Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview). 

Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 31 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.


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