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PROJECT TOPIC: CULTURAL TOURISM AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT A CASE STUDY OF UMUAGBOM COMMUNITY IN IMO STATE

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CHAPTER ONE 1.0 Introduction Agarwal 1997. Having unique indigenous cultures, nature-based attractions, beautiful landscapes, and pleasant weather conditions, local communities in Africa, and other Third World countries, are increasingly being promoted and marketed in major tourist generating countries, particularly in Europe and North America, as offering immense touristic and recreational opportunities. Particularly, indigenous communities in the Third World are perceived as providing abundant opportunities for rich tourists from the North who have got the financial resources to spend in adventure and exotic recreational activities. As a consequence, an increasing number of international tourists are traveling to different tourist destinations in Africa and other less developed regions of the world. In 2001 for instance, over 28 million international tourists, mainly from Europe and North America, traveled to different destinations in Africa. It is further estimated that with the current international growth rate of the tourism industry, over 77 million international tourists will visit Africa by the year 2020 (WTO 2004). Neo-classical economists and development experts contend that unlike factor driven technology based development, local communities in Africa and other parts of the Third World have a comparative advantage in the development of tourism and other non-technology based economic sectors. The development of tourism amongst local communities is, therefore, perceived as fitting quite well with the ‘natural process of development based on comparative advantage’ (Brohman 1996). This argument is based on the premise that local communities, particularly in Africa, should mainly specialize in primary exports, including tourism, where they have comparative advantage rather than depending on technology based economic sectors that do not conform with the principles of comparative advantage in the global market demand. Particularly, local communities in sub-Saharan Africa are usually perceived as having a comparative advantage in the development of tourism. This is due to the fact that they possess unique indigenous cultural and nature-based attractions that the Western tourists lack in their transformed and urbanized environments (Butler and Hinch 1996; Cohen 1996). Many Western tourists are haggling for these forms of touristic attractions in order to escape from the perceived monotony of everyday life in the often over-crowded and congested urban conglomerates. In this regard, tourists want to travel to other places,albeit temporarily, in order to escape from the monotony of routine life and are, therefore, looking for alternative environments that are perceived as having fascinating indigenous cultures and pristine nature attractions (Smith 1995; Sharpley 1999).

1.1 Background of Study According to (Sharpley:2003:p34) Community development in Nigeria eliminate suffering of like illiteracy, and sickness thus improving the standard of living of the people within the community for instance, the introduction of compulsory free education programme (development project) in Nigeria during Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime partially to eradicate suffering of illiteracy at the community level. It also “Community development” helps to improve the economic social and cultural conditions of communities, thus enabling members of community to contribute meaningfully to the achievement of national objectives. More to it Community development helps to eradicate or reduce abject poverty in Nigeria. The provision of social amenities like water, roads, electricity and hospitals, valued culture which are part of development in the community can lead to the reduction of abject poverty in the country. Because when hospitals are being built in a particular community, the members of the community and a valued culture celebrated citizen will travel to witness the event and there by bringing development and high standard of living of the people. It also serves as a means of providing social amenities like roads, water, bridge and social amenities. Ife and Fiske (2006) developed a model to illustrate the dimensions of service provision understood from a Community Development perspective, which incorporates Perkins’ emphasis on indigenous leadership and the historically colonial connotations of some Community Development efforts. And according to Okiy community development is a basis for economic development and information is an important ingredient in development process. People of the community whether literate or not should have access to any kind of information which will help them to become capable and productive in their social and political obligation, to become better informed citizens generally. Okiy (2003,1).On the other hand, when the communities is not developed, there will be vices that pulls a society down. As Yahya opined: Lack of development has a positive correlation with the neglect of rural areas. Rural neglect brings negative consequences such as exodus of rural dwellers to urban areas, with resulting problems of unemployment, crime, prostitution, child labour, insecurity, money laundering, bribery, poverty proliferation of shanty living areas, spread of diseases and over stretching of the facilities and infrastructure in the urban areas. Yahya (2009).From the review of the community development and its trend by previous research work, the researcher can conclude of say that community development is the grass root to development and sustainability to the community, through which community growth commence. As stated by Okiy (2013) that lack of community development brings about vice and disorder in the community, the researcher sees a need to drive development to undeveloped community by uplftiing the community culture and values among the nation in order to avoid all these vices. Cultural tourism is therefore a kind of travel to experience and in some cases participate in a vanishing, eating in rustic shades with calabash, festivals like Ituaka of Ahiara Ofiri (from umuagbom community) folk performances, arts and crafts,Durbars e.t.c. Culture tends to standout in Nigeria tourism sector as Nigeria houses about 375 ethnic groups and each of these ethnic group has her own cultural heritage which describe the total way of life of the particular group. Before the coming of the Western culture, importance was attached to the participation in any cultural festival like Eyiri-eyi Obohia, Iriji Mbaise (New yam festival). In those days, the Eyiri-eyi Obohia, Iriji Mbaise has become a national religious institution and its anniversaries are celebrated with grand festivities. The mysteries connected with it are held sacred and inviolable. Nowadays, these beliefs have changed, people have not been participating in Eyiri-eyi Obohia, Iriji Mbaise Festival especially and this is due to some factors that are connected with the coming of the Western culture and the various religious beliefs. Sustainable tourism is development of tourism in a manner which is non-damaging to the environment and which contribute to social and economic benefits of the host community observed by Cli Moughtin (1996) in urban design.


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