Tourism activities throughout the world are major sources of internally generated revenue. They generate revenue for both the host communities and the government at large. Tourism potentials when fully harnessed served as the best means of livelihood and sustainability for any modern day society especially in the development of tourist sites (Greg, 2014). However, residence (non-tourists) attitude and behaviour towards enhancing revenue generation has been very poor. Residence (non-tourists) has always viewed tourism from a different point of perspective and this has affected the development of tourist/cultural sites in Nigeria (Greg, 2014). One major problem resulting to this behavioural change is that resident’s (host community) see tourists and investors as people that exploit their community rather than for development to harness the tourism potentials and natural resources provided by nature (Korstanje, 2007).
The World Tourism Organization (WTO) regards tourists as people who travel to and stay in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business, and other purpose not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited. Tourism however can be described as a double edge activity. It has the potential to contribute in a positive manner to the socio-economic development of any modern society. Also, it is fast and sometimes uncontrolled growth can be a major source of environmental hazards and degradation as well as loss of local identity, biological features and physical resource that primarily attract tourist.
As suggested by Awaritefe (2000; 2004; 2007), the spatial pattern of tourism destination distribution in Delta State can be summarized into four zones (Asaba/Aniocha, Warri/Ethiope, Ndokwa/Isoko, and Bomadi/Coastal). In the book titled “Delta State in Map”, Awaritefe as cited in Awaritefe (2007) in discussing how to develop quantity tourism in Delta State, stated that the major attractions for tourist revealed by previous and recent studies are natural and cultural features.
Hunziker and Krapf (1941) defined tourism as “the sum of the phenomena and relationships arising from the travel and stay of non-residents, in-so-far as they do not lead to permanent residence and are not connected with any earning activity”. Greg (2014) went on to give the definition of tourism as “the temporary, short-term movement of people to destinations outside the places where they normally live and work and their activities during stay at such destination. It includes movements for all purposes”. In 1981, the International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism defined tourism in terms of particular activities chosen and undertaken outside the home. Tourism is an important, even vital, source of income for many countries. Its importance was recognized in the Manila Declaration on World Tourism of 1980 as “an activity essential to the life of nations because of its direct effects on the social, cultural, educational and economic sectors of national societies and on their international relations.
1.2 Study Background
The terms tourism and travel are sometimes used interchangeably. In this context, travel has a similar definition to tourism, but implies a more purposeful journey. The terms tourism and tourist are sometimes used pejoratively, to imply a shallow interest in the cultures or locations visited (Greg, 2014). By contrast, traveler is often used as a sign of distinction. Tourism is travel for recreation, leisure, religious, family or business purposes, usually for a limited duration. Tourism is commonly associated with international travel, but may also refer to travel to another place within the same country. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) defines tourists as people “traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purpose” (WTO, 2012).
Tourism has become a popular global leisure activity. Tourism can be domestic or international, and international tourism has both incoming and outgoing implications on a country’s balance of payments. Today, tourism is a major source of income for many countries, and affects the economy of both the source and host countries, in some cases being of vital importance. Tourism brings in large amounts of income into a local economy in the form of payment for goods and services needed by tourists, accounting for 30% of the world’s trade of services, and 6% of overall exports of goods and services (WTO, 2012). Tourism also creates opportunities for employment in the service sector of the economy associated with it. The service industries which benefit from tourism include transportation services, such as airlines, cruise ships, and taxi cabs, hospitality, such as accommodations, including hotels and resorts, and entertainment venues, such as amusement parks, casinos, shopping malls, music venues, and theatres. This is in addition to goods bought by tourists, including souvenirs, clothing etc.
Tourism involves some degree of interaction between residents (non-tourist) and temporary guest (tourist) to their area. Therefore, it will result in either positive or negative impacts. Any impacts from tourism that cause irritation amongst the local residents (non-tourists) might lead to problems with the development and sustainability of the industry and reduce economic benefit. As for the temporary guest (the tourists) only tourism impacts that affect their travel experience and travel expenses might divert them to other destinations (Korstanje, 2007). Thus, cultural tourist sites satisfy the tripartite concepts of conservation, full development, and utilization. This description matches the tourist sites in Delta State. However, little appreciation of them has led to their underdevelopment, underutilization and undervaluation, thereby robbing off their chances of meriting global first class list of tourism destinations.