Unravelling the Conditions and Limitations Impacting the Prospect of Developing Rural Eco-Tourism in Oyo State, Nigeria

Unravelling the Conditions and Limitations Impacting the Prospect of Developing Rural Eco-Tourism in Oyo State, Nigeria

Ayobami Abayomi Popoola (University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) and Babatunde Adewale Adeleke (University of Ibadan, Nigeria)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1302-6.ch016
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Many eco-tourism sites in Oyo State continue to lay in waste. Two are the focus of this chapter: Ikere Gorge Dam and the Ado-Awaye Hanging Lake in Iseyin LGA. Authors examine the condition and prospect of eco-tourism in the rural Iseyin local government area. Data was captured from a structured questionnaire administered to tourists and rural residents. A laboratory test was further carried out on the Iyake water of the hanging lake, indicating that the water is not safe for human consumption because of the lead chemical content. Findings based on inferential statistics established that the host communities perceive no remarkable dividends of tourism in the area and that people have a good impression about the prospect and development of eco-tourism. The study concluded with the need for a tourism masterplan and involvement of the private sector in tourism development in the state. The need for an improvement in complimentary infrastructures such as access roads and electricity was identified to be imperative for improved tourism sites.
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Background To The Study

The trend of human history and nature shows that people have not been stationary. Movements in and out are essential to human nature: it was the first known human assignment on earth. Adam and Eve in the beautiful Garden of Eden engaged in moving from place to place, so tourism is as old as man himself. These movements (travelling) from one geographical coordinate to others could be for economical, religious-pilgrimage, academically, recreational, socio-cultural reasons. For whatever reason, human movement is inevitable. It is imperative to note that the people’s (potential tourists) choices and place characteristics (scenery, weather conditions, satisfaction, natural artifacts and aesthetically appealing objects) are relevant to the booming and transformation of a site from just a local content to an international destination of attraction. Ayodele and Falade (1993) identified that the tourism business is aesthetically defined and that the meeting of tourists’ needs (accommodation, accessibility in circulation, security) must be achieved and planned for in tourism development.

Suresh (2012) argues that international and the state, region or local boundary migration of people leads and propels the tourism ideology. To this effect, the Commission of European Communities, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations and World Tourism Organization (2001) state that this movement can be for relaxation, social, economic or health-related purposes for a specific period of time (usually not above a year consecutively). Going by this understanding, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) (2014) reported that global tourist arrivals rose from 25 million in the 1950s to 1.087 Billion in 2013.

While the numbers of tourists to tourism sites and locations continue to be on the increase, a vivid figure of the definition and “eco-tourists” at various sites remains less documented. UNESCO (2003) states that there does not exist a universal definition and characteristics of what constitutes an ecotourism site or location. Ecotourism sites include natural, traditional and culturally aligned and arranged sites. Bricker (2013) identified the six principles of ecotourism as “the non-destructive use, protection and restoration of biodiversity; the promotion of environmentally sustainable development education and interpretation; an awareness of direct economic benefits for local people; the alleviation of poverty; health; and the well-being of stakeholders”. Studies by Bhattacharya et al. (2012) and Kiper (2013) identified a place as classified under the ecotourism site label if it encompasses nature-based cultural sites which are capable of generating income for the local people via the use of these immediate resources. Kiper (2013) reiterated that ecotourism as a subset of tourism is mainly geared towards the maintenance of the natural system.

The ecotourism industry has been identified as the fastest growing tourism industry in the world (Mahdavi et al., 2015), with estimated international tourism of about 20% (Ajayi and Eveso, 2017). It was estimated that the industry is characterized by over 5 million eco-tourists across the globe (Kamauro, 1996). According to Isaacs (2000), the industry accounts for a large percentage of the livelihood sources and national GDP in countries like Kenya, Madagascar, Nepal, Thailand and Malaysia. Studies by Magigi and Ramadhani (2013) and Ijeomah and Eniang (2018) reported that while foreign earnings generated from tourism continue to increase globally and has been identified as the largest industry in the world, its main benefit lies in the empowerment and capacity improvement of local tourist sites community residents.

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