1.1 Background to the Study
Tourism is currently the fastest growing sector of the global economy (Obot, 2003). It is already the number one industry in many countries, in terms of foreign exchange earnings and job creation (Agene, 2005). Tourism is at present the major export product for 83 percent of the developing countries and main export of one third of them. In 2000 specifically, developing Countries recorded 292.6 million international arrivals (WTO 2003).
Ukene (2008) quoting IMF report of the year 2000 asserted that tourism generated U$504 billion in the year 2000 globally. The figure is far above sectors such as automotive products, chemicals, food, petroleum, computers and office equipment, textile, telecommunication, mining, iron and steel. The tourism industry includes diverse activities such as transportation, recreation, catering etc. It affirmed as one of the world’s largest source of employment with more than 260 million people employed in the sector globally. It is also reported that more than 613 million people were serviced by the industry globally. It stimulates an annual investment in capital projects or infrastructure to the tunes of US$ 800 billion (Obot, 2013). It is also reported to account for about 11 percent of global gross domestic product GDP (WTO, 2013)
Characteristics of the tourism sites are those important features which make destinations necessary and exciting for companies when planning marketing/ social media strategy. Such important characteristics include investment and immobility, quality assurance, reliability of tourism promotions, functionability of tangibles, socio- cultural dimensions, perishability etc. Tourists’ responsiveness can be viewed as how tourists react to changes in tourism businesses
According to National population commission, as of 2010, more than 100 million people lived in Nigeria, making it the most populated country in Africa and the most populated country in the whole black race. In 2011, more than 2 million tourists visited Nigeria. The various international church crusades and conferences coupled with foreign investors on business, tourism made the bulk of the tourists and spent the equivalent of $ 3.7 million US Dollars and the figure is expected to rise by 10 percent increase year by year. Tourists are attracted by Nigeria’s cultural diversity, scenery and festivals, each region of Nigeria offer something for foreign visitors from Obudu Cattle Range, Osum Osegbo Grove, Olumo Rock, Agbokim water falls in Calabar and a number of beaches and costal in cities. Tourism development in Nigeria has undergone gradual but progressive evolution with each phase reflecting its growing importance in the economy (Osuaka, 2001). It encompasses 904 million tourists who spent 855 billion US dollars. They supported global system with roughly 100 million employers in modern leisure and experience industry. Tourism is all about place marketing. The term “place” marketing is better appreciated when we look at the spatial differentiation of places. The oxford advanced learner’s dictionary (1998) defines spatial as the ability to judge the position and distance of objects. It is because of the perceived difference between the individual’s present geographical position and the desired one that motivated the individual to move to the latter. It is based on this understanding that tourism is described as a powerful temporary movement of an individual to destinations outside his or her normal home or work place (Esu, 2006). The “place” is both the product and the container of an assemblage of products. In tourism marketing, the tourist is identified as a place customer. The role of marketing in place or tourism management is often questioned. The role of marketing is to create satisfied customers and keep them at a profit (Drucker, 1965).
Razalli, Dahlan and Ramayah (2010) defined tourism marketing responsiveness as the management ability to respond to change. The force of competition affects the overall performance of the tourism industry and / or destinations. Responsiveness is also related to the time-based competition (Stalk and Hout 1990). The reason for competition based on time is that time is equivalent to money; productivity; quality and even innovation (Stalk 1988). The success of a tourist destination is anchored on the manager’s ability to identify, adapt and overcome forces that may confront its operations in the market.
Virtually, almost all the local government areas in Nigeria have varying degrees of tourism attractions. This attests to richness of the Nigerian natural and cultural attractions as described by Fagbile (2001). The economic importance of tourism is quite enormous. It educates the travelers, provides funds for ecological conservation, creates jobs, protect and conserves the environment, improves the well-being of local people, ensures direct financial support to local people, creates political empowerment of local communities, generates revenue for government, maintains peace, law and order in the society, fostering respect for different culture and for human rights and contributes to economic development. However, this has attracted many scholarly enquires on the factors that may determine the tourism marketing responsiveness in Nigeria, considering its strategic importance to the economic development of any nation.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The importance of tourism to national economic development has been well documented in many social science researches Obot (2003), Esu (2005) and Omole (2013). This is evidenced by the number of scholarly writings in the area of tourism marketing. Today, tourism business has become a major source of foreign exchange to many developing and developed economies of the world. Adebajo, (2008) observed that tourism business in some countries have accounted for over 40 percent of their GDP and it is an essential source of foreign exchange to many nations.
Accordingly, many empirical and methodological studies have confirmed that tourism generates employments and accounts for many countries source of revenues. However, most of these studies have failed to investigate how several factors (demographic, socio-economic and tourism sites characteristics) affect the patronage of tourism destinations. For instance, a study by Esu (2005) identified factors that influenced tourism marketing but did not determine how the different factors of the tourists and of the destinations affect tourists’ responsiveness. Thus, despite these efforts by many scholars, there is still an incomplete understanding of how tourism characteristics such as destination factors, communication factors and government-commitment affect the patronage of tourism sites in the two states. Esu (2005) identified factors that influence tourism marketing but did not quantify to what extent the factor impacted on the tourists by attracting them.
To this end, a better understanding of tourism characteristics and tourist responsiveness has the potential to improve on the performance of tourism business in the area. Thus, one area that has received a lot of attention recently is tourism characteristics and tourists’ responsiveness. This is evidenced in the number of scholarly publications made in the area in recent time.
However, despite the growth and increasing importance of the industry, there seems to be little research efforts on why and how consumers or patrons make decision about tourism sites attraction in Nigeria as only a limited numbers of studies have been published in this area. This study is therefore an attempt to fill that knowledge gap in the literature.
1.3 The Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to examine the factors that affect tourists’ responsiveness to tourism destinations in Akwa Ibom and Cross River States. Thus, the specific objective of this study includes:
iii. Examine the effect of these characteristics on tourism sites attractiveness.
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Research Hypotheses
Two hypotheses were formulated to guide this study. These include:
Ho1: Socio-economic and demographic characteristics of the tourists do not significantly influence tourists’ responsiveness in Cross River and Akwa Ibom States.
Ho2: The characteristics of different tourism destinations in Cross River and Akwa Ibom States do not significantly influence tourists’ responsiveness.
1.6 Significance of the Study:
The result of this study will be of great significance to the government who, upon recognition of the revenue potential of tourism, has invested energy and resources into the sector. Thus knowing what makes tourists respond positively to their efforts which will definitely optimize the performance of the sector and revenue to government. The study will also benefit investors. With the continuous promotion and emphasis placed on tourism development, the result of this study would serve as a guide to investors in their decision to invest and earn returns from their investment.
To the academic community, additional stock of material on tourism marketing would have been added at the end of this study, thereby increasing knowledge of marketing students and making available reference material for future researchers. To the tourists, this study will further strengthen their passion for embarking on tourism as what interest them most would best be addressed in this work.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The scope of the study will cover tourism marketing responsiveness and its impediment from the view point of tourists. However, being a very broad area, tourism and its related concepts would also form part of this investigation. In terms of geophysical coverage, the study is carried out in Cross River and Akwa Ibom States of Nigeria.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
This study is limited by a number of factors. First, the study is limited by the sample size used. Data provided by various sources will not be the same. Second, the samples came from Cross River and Akwa Ibom States, thus making generalization of this result limited.
1.9 Definition of Terms Used in the Study
Tourism: Tourism is defined as the science, art and business of attracting and transporting visitors, accommodating them and functionally catering for their needs and wants.
Ecotourism: This is responsible travel to natural area that conserves the environment and improves the well being of local people. It is also environmental friendly.
Tourism Marketing: This is defined as the delivery of tourism services that offer tourists maximum satisfaction leading to repeat visit to destination, positive word of mouth and profit.
Tourism Responsiveness: Tourism is defined as the willingness to help customers and to provide prompt services. It is also defined as the measure of accountability to investment with respect to the actualization of the goals of the tourism development in Nigeria.
Destination: This means tourism site or the place or location where the tourists’ attraction is located.
Tourism Product: This means the object of attraction and other facilities that support the tourist stay in the destination area.
Tourist: This is someone who travels out of his place of normal residence to a destination for leisure, learning and recreation.
Tourism Experience: This means how an individual perceives a product, which forms a benchmark for future decision experience.
Leisure: Leisure is defined as the disposal time available to and used by an individual, after work, for sleep or performance of personal and household chores.
Recreation: This is a measure of the leisure time used to undertake house–based activities (like watching television, telling stories, playing games, etc) and some outdoor activities (such as visiting the theatre, sports and shopping malls etc that last for less than 24 hours).
1.10 Organization of the study
This study will be presented in five chapters. Chapter one will contain the introductory statement including background to the study, statement of the problem, research objectives, research questions, hypotheses, significance of the study etc. In chapter two, related literature will be reviewed. The focus will be on the conceptual framework, theoretical framework and empirical framework all of which centered on tourism characteristics responsiveness and the impeding factors as well as other related terms.
Chapter three will contain the research methodology with focus on the design adopted, population, sample, sources of data, and method of data collection, research instrument and method of data analysis. In chapter four, the data collected will be analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics, while summary, conclusion and recommendation along with area for further studies and contribution to knowledge will be stated in chapter five.
1.11 The Study Area
This study was conducted in Cross River and Akwa Ibom States. Cross River State was created in May 27, 1967 from the Eastern Region by the General Yakubu Gowon regime. It‘s name was changed to Cross River State in the 1976 State creation exercise by the then General Murtala Mohammad regime. The present day Akwa Ibom State was excised from it in the State creation exercise of September, 1987 by the then regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. Its capital is Calabar. Cross River State is a coastal state in South Eastern Nigeria, named after Cross River, which passes through the state. Located in the Niger Delta, Cross River State occupies 201,156 square kilometers. It shares boundaries with Benue State to the North, Enugu and Abia States to the West, to the east by Cameroon republic and to the South by Akwa Ibom State and the Atlantic Oceans. There are three major language groups in Cross River State – Efik, Ejagham and Bakwara. The culture of the different groups in the state bears striking similarities. Each rhythm and dances express the inner feelings of the people which relate to particular events, festivals or sample their way of life. Dances in Cross River State include Ekpe, Nkwa, Obon, Udoiminyang, Abang, Moninkim, Ayita, Udiang otickui and many others. Traditional festivals relating to farming activities are observed in Yala, Yarkurr, Obubra, Ogoja, Obudu, Obanliku and Boki local Government areas. These festivals are observed to celebrate the rich harvest of the season.
The cross River State economy is pre-dominantly agricultural and is sub-divided into two sectors – the public and the private sectors. The private sector is dominated by local subsistence farmers while the public sector is run by the Government and features large plantations and demonstration farms. The state government places emphasis on fish farming as a measure to diversity its economy. To this end, it took measures to boost fish production in areas including, fish farming processing, processing, storage, marketing in store fishing and monitoring of fish resources. Major livestock in the state are cattle, goats and sheep. Rearing activities are mainly undertaken by local farmers and nomadic Fulanis.
Tourism in Cross River State
From the soaring plateaus of the mountain tops of Obanliku to the rain forests of Afi, from the waterfalls of Agbokim and Kra to the spiraling ox-bow Calabar River which provide sights and images of the Tinapa Business Resort, Calabar Marina, Calabar Residency, Museum and the Calabar slave park along its course. There is always a thrilling adventure awaiting the ecotourists visiting cross River State.
Akwa Ibom State
Akwa Ibom is a State in Nigeria. It is located in the costal southern part of the country, lying between latitudes 4º32’N and 5º33’N, and longitudes 7º2,5’È and 8º2,5’ È. The state is bordered on the east by Cross River state, on the west by River State and Abia State and on the south by the Atlantic Ocean and the southernmost tip of Cross River State. Akwa Ibom is one of Nigeria’s 36 States, with a population of over 5 million people and more than 10 million people in Diaspora. It was created in 1987 from the former Cross River State and is currently the highest oil and gas- producing state in the country. The state’s capital is Uyo, with over 500,000 inhabitants. Akwa Ibom has an airport (Akwa Ibom International Airport) and two major sea ports on the Atlantic Ocean with a proposed construction of a world class seaport Ibaka seaport at Oron. The state also boasts of a 30,000- seater ultramodern sport complex. Akwa Ibom State is home to the Ibom E-library, a world class information center. The main spoken languages are Ibibio, Annang, Eket and Oron language. Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State consists of thirty- one (31) local government areas.
The people are predominantly of the Christian faith. The main ethnic groups of the state are:
The Ibibio, Annang, Eket, who speak a dialect of the Ibibio Language, Oron and Obolo, comprising Ibono (Ibeno) and Eastern Obolo people, are the largest ethnic groups. The Oro (Oron) is an ethnic group similar to the Efik which also speak a dialect of Ibibio language and predominant in neighbouring Cross River State. Located at the Atlantic Ocean seas front are the Eket, Ibeno and Eastern Obolo people. The Ibono have similarities with Oro and Obolos. The Igbo language is also spoken in Akwa Ibom in the northern and western land borders. The Ibibio language belongs to the Benue – Congo group of language family, which forms part of Niger- Congo group of language. Despite the homogeneity, no central government existed among the people of what is now Akwa Ibom State prior to the British invasion in 1904. Instead, the Annang, Oron, Efik, Ibonos and Ibibio were all autonomous groups.
Although several Scottish Missionaries arrived in Calabar in 1848 and Ibono in 1887, the British did not firmly establish control until 1904. In that year, the Enyong Division was created encompassing the area of the current state of Akwa Ibom, with the headquarters at Ikot Ekpene, an Annang city emerged described by the noted Africanist Kaanan nair, as the cultural and political capital of Annang an Ibibio. The creation of Enyong Division, for the first time allowed the numerous ethnic groups to come together. This further provided a venue for the creation of the Ibibio welfare union, later renamed Ibibio state union. The social organization was first organized as a local development and improvement forum for educated persons and groups who were shot out from the colonial administration in 1929. Nonetheless, some historians have wrongly pointed to the union to buttress their argument about the homogeneity of groups in the area. The Obolo union comprising Ibono and Andoni stock was another strong socio-economic and cultural organization that thrived in the region. The Ibono
people have fought wars to maintain their unique identity and territory in the region more than any other group. When Akwa Ibom State was created in 1987, Uyo was chosen as the state capital to spread development to all regions of the state.