TOURISM DEVELOPMENT IN PLATEAU STATE A VITAL TOOL FOR ENHANCING THE REVENUE BASE OF THE STATE
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Every country, Nigeria inclusive, has its sources of revenue generation and socio-economic development. The sources may include, but not limited to agriculture, oil and gas (petroleum), trade and investment (import and export business), education, health, tourism and hospitality, etc. Before and after the Nigerian political independence, agriculture was the major source of the country’s revenue generation, socio-economic growth and development, followed by other sectors. With the discovery of oil and its revenue potentials from 1958 to immediately after the Nigerian Civil War (1967 – 1970), the petroleum sector took over all other sources of the country’s revenue, gross national product (GNP) or National Income. It was unfortunate that the tourism sector was neglected or not realized or given adequate attention it deserved or ought to deserve not realizing that tourism centers are God’s creation; particularly those that were not man-made like long terrain of beautiful plateau ground, wonderful spring, a terrific fall, wonderful outcrop of rocks, etc (Etek, Eze and Esu 2012).
Tourism, according to Nwidum (2007), is expected to foster economic growth through foreign exchange earnings and increase in state revenue and, at a second level, on improvement in the people’s well-being in the areas of job creation, revenue/income distribution and balanced regional development. It is unfortunate that tourism development in the states of Nigeria has been threatened by such factors like financial problems, infrastructural constraints like poor road network, electricity, drinkable water, health facilities and lack of awareness among Nigerians on the benefits of tourism to the expected tourists and other Nigerians. Tourism is the business activity connected with providing accommodation, services and entertainment for the people who are visiting a place for pleasure (The Oxford Advance Learners Dictionary), and It is the free movement of people for destinations outside their normal abode on a temporary short-term visit as well as the services created to satisfy the need arising from these movements, within and across international boundaries. It could be for advance health reasons, leisure, business, religion, education or other purposes not mentioned (Anijah-Obi 2001). It is the practice of traveling for pleasure and the business of providing for tours (i.e. to make journey in, where one or more places are visited usually without hitch or recreation for specific purposes as in the situation of business and recreation) and services to tourists (The American Heritage Dictionary of English Language). It is also an amalgam of leisure and recreation services and activities provided within an environment for visitor’s satisfaction and enjoyment, hence a deliberate act of traveling out of one’s home to another destination, together with the preparations that go into the act, for a specified period and for one or more purposes (Ebin 1999). It is also the activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes (Cooper et al, 1999). The Jos Plateau is a plateau located near the centre of Nigeria. It covers 8600 km² and is bounded by 300-600 meter escarpments around much of its circumference. With an average altitude of 1280 metres it is the largest area over 1000 metres in Nigeria, with a high point of 1829 metres in the Shere Hills. The plateau has given its name to the State, Plateau State in which it is found and is itself named for the state’s capital, Jos. After the British colonization of Nigeria, Jos Plateau became a mining region and one of the most important tourist destinations in Nigeria, but touristic activity was impeded in early 21st century by a new conflict between Christians and Muslims as a result of tribal and political differences between the inhabitants of the Jos Plateau.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Tourism has created opportunities for job or employment opportunities in Nigeria. This is because all these tourist sectors are handled by human beings – both skilled/specialists and unskilled labor in Nigeria and Nigerian citizens. That tourism creates jobs directly or indirectly through linkages is not a Nigerian case as it has been observed also that in Rwanda, employment opportunities are offered through national parks; guides, trackers, and anti poaching agents. Tourism is one of the major sources of increase in the state’s GDP and economic growth, GDP being the total final output of goods and services produced by the state’s economy, within the state’s territory, by residents and nonresidents, regardless of its allocation between domestic and foreign claims, and economic growth being the steady process by which the productive capacity of the economy is increased over time to bring about rising levels of national output and income. However, the researcher is examining tourism in Plateux State as a vital tool for enhancing the revenue base of the state.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
1. To provide an overview on tourism development.
2. To examine tourism development as a vital tool for enhancing the revenue base of a state.
3. To identify the factors affecting tourism development in Plateau State.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is tourism development?
2. Is tourism development a vital tool for enhancing the revenue base of a state?
3. What are the factors affecting tourism development in Plateau State?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
HO: There is no significant relationship between tourism development and the revenue base of a state
HA: There is significant relationship between tourism development and the revenue base of a state
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
1. The outcome of this study will educate on how tourism development can contribute to revenue generation in a state with particular focus on plateau State.
2. This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the effect of personality trait on student’s academic performance, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will cover tourism development and its contribution to revenue generation in Plateau State of Nigeria.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.