Assessment of Tourist Visitation and Host Communities' Participation in the Management of Selected Ecotourism Destinations in Nigeria
International Journal of Research in Tourism and Hospitality
Several efforts have been made by tourism institutions in Nigeria concerning identification of new tourism attractions but the level of patronage and host communities' participation in many age old ecotourism destinations are yet to be ascertained. The study was therefore conducted to assess the level of tourist visitation and host communities' involvement in tourism in selected destinations in Nigeria. Data for the study were collected from Oguta Lake destination, Okomu National Park and Farin
... onal Park and Farin Ruwa Waterfall through personal interviews, structured questionnaire, observation and administrative records. The first set of questionnaire was randomly administered to selected number of tourist respondents in each destination. The second set was administered to officials while the third set of questionnaire was administered to household representatives who have lived in the community for a minimum period of 15 years. Data obtained were analysed using descriptive statistics in form of frequencies, percentages and tables with line graph (trend graph). Visitations of tourists to selected destinations have been unsustainable. Household involvement in tourism management was rated low in the destinations by all respondents (100%). All household respondents from Farin ruwa waterfall destination (100%) claimed to have derived some benefits from the management of the park. However, all household respondents (100%) in the three destinations were not satisfied with the level of benefits derived from the sites. Visitors to Okomu national park and Farin ruwa waterfall considered trips to the destinations hectic but never regretted for visiting the destinations due their interesting and exciting experiences. Level of host community's awareness of the ecodestinations as tourism sites was rated high by all respondents (100%). Provision of adequate infrastructure, tourism facilities, effective security services, consistent awareness and good management will stabilise tourists' visitation to destinations and stimulate the empowerment of host communities.