Tourism is defined as a composite of activities, services, and industries that delivers a travel experience to individuals and groups travelling fifty miles (about eighty kilometres) or more from their homes for purposes of pleasure. Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people who "travel to and stay in places outside their usual environment for more than twenty-four (24) hours and not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited.
In 1941, Hunziker and Krapf defined tourism as people who travel "the sum of the phenomena and relationships arising from the travel and stay of non-residents, insofar as they do not lead to permanent residence and are not connected with any earning activity." In 1976, the Tourism Society of England's definition was: "Tourism is the temporary, short-term movement of people to destination outside the places where they normally live and work and their activities during the stay at each destination. It includes movements for all purposes." In 1981, the International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism defined tourism in terms of particular activities selected by choice and undertaken outside the home. 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 by tourists.
Tourism is one of the world‘s largest industries. For developing countries it is also one of the biggest income generators. But the huge infrastructural and resource demands of tourism (e.g. water consumption, waste generation and energy use) can have severe impacts upon local communities and the environment if it is not properly managed. Tourism is vital for many countries, such as Nigeria, France, Egypt, Greece, Israel, United States, Spain, Italy, and Thailand, and many island nations, such as The Bahamas, Fiji, Maldives, Philippines and the Seychelles, due to the large intake of money for businesses with their goods and services and the opportunity for employment in the service industries associated with tourism. These service industries include transportation services, such as airlines, cruise ships and taxicabs, hospitality services, such as accommodations, including hotels and resorts, and entertainment venues, such as amusement parks, casinos, shopping malls, music venues and theatres
Wealthy people have always travelled to distant parts of the world, to see great buildings, works of art, learn new languages, and experience new cultures and to taste different cuisines. Long ago, at the time of the Roman Republic, places such as Baiae were popular coastal resorts for the rich. The word tourism was used by 1811 and tourist by 1840. In 1936, the League of Nations defined foreign tourist as "someone travelling abroad for at least twenty-four hours". Its successor, the United Nations, amended this definition in 1945, by including a maximum stay of six months.
There has been an upmarket trend in the tourism over the last few decades, especially in Africa, where international travel for short breaks is common. Tourists have high levels of disposable income, considerable leisure time, are well educated, and have sophisticated tastes. There is now a demand for better quality products, which has resulted in a fragmenting of the mass market for beach vacations; people want more specialised versions, quieter resorts, family-oriented holidays or niche market-targeted destination hotels.
The developments in technology and transport infrastructure, such as jumbo jets, low-cost airlines and more accessible airports have made many types of tourism more affordable. As of April 28, 2009 The Guardian article notes that, "the WHO estimates that up to 500,000 people are on planes at any time." There have also been changes in lifestyle, such as retiree-age people who sustain year round tourism. This is facilitated by internet sales of tourism products. Some sites have now started to offer dynamic packaging, in which an inclusive price is quoted for a tailor-made package requested by the customer upon impulse.
Tourism has become a popular global leisure activity. In 2010, there were over 940 million international tourist arrivals, with a growth of 6.6% as compared to 2009. International tourism receipts grew to US$919 billion (euro 693 billion) in 2010, corresponding to an increase in real terms of 4.7%. As a result of the late-2000s recession, international travel demand suffered a strong slowdown beginning in June 2008, with growth in international tourism arrivals worldwide falling to 2% during the boreal summer months. This negative trend intensified during 2009, exacerbated in some countries due to the outbreak of the H1N1 influenza virus, resulting in a worldwide decline of 4% in 2009 to 880 million international tourists’ arrivals, and an estimated 6% decline in international tourism receipts.
We have witnessed an exponential growth in global tourism over the past half century. 25 million international visitors in 1950 grew to an estimated 650 million people by the year 2000. Several factors have contributed to this rise in consumer demand in recent decades. This includes an increase in the standard of living in the developed countries, greater allowances for holiday entitlements and declining costs of travel. Tourism is an important export for a large number of developing countries, and the principal export for about a third of these. The business sectors comprising the tourism industry include: transportation, accommodations, eating and drinking establishments, shops, entertainment venues, activity facilities, and a variety of hospitality.
1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY:
The desire to develop the Nigerian tourism and hospitality sector to a regionally competitive level by the Federal and other similarly persuaded states, like Imo state, has been a major policy towards which steps are being taken, with differing degrees of commitment and directional clarity. The passion towards the realisation of tourism advancement in this respect is premised upon the anticipated benefits of the sector to Nigeria; two of which are clearly evident. First, tourism promises to widen the utilitarian value as well as enhance the effective demand made on the abundant natural and cultural assets that are presently underutilised, given the expansion in the streams of tourists that would be attracted by them. Second, tourism being a labour-intensive sector offers a great potential to address much of Nigeria’s present and future employment challenges, given the size of her population and expected future growth.
It is in this context, that the Nigerian government commissioned its Tourism Master Plan for the development of Tourism in Nigeria in 2006 (The Nigeria Tourism Master Plan (2006)). Among others, that Tourism Master Plan (TMP) observed a number of critical challenges facing tourism development that must be addressed with varying degrees of urgency. One of such problems was the poor level of domestic propensity for local destination patronage, as well as the marginal knowledge of the worth of the Nigerian tourism market internationally.
Since the publicity of this Master Plan, governments have taken a number of steps to address its recommendations. The nature of responses and the degree of their intensity have varied. Essentially, responses on infrastructure provision and overhaul, as well as on national image-rebranding and marketing overseas have received much attention. In spite of all the efforts so far, the need as well as the strategy to influence the population towards a tourism-oriented leisure consumption habit locally, is yet to be seriously addressed.
Specifically, government must encourage the culture of visits to tourist sites by the different identifiable socio-demographic groups into which its population may be sub-divided.
Ability to determine, at a later date, the degree of success achieved by governments in this regard, requires the acquisition of some essential data by relevant agencies of the government. A major component of such data would be statistics depicting the state of awareness as well as the existing pattern of visits to recreation and tourists sites by identifiable segments of its population prior to intervention.
In categorizing the affected population into socio-economic or demographic groups, adequate attention must be paid to ensuring that the segmentation criteria accurately reflect existing differences in behavioural inclinations towards leisure. In this context, targeting the youth either as a distinct segment of a population, or as a group to be contrasted with another in that same population, offers a useful analytical framework for assessing future projections on tourism growth in that population. Indeed, given that youths generally differ from older age cohorts, either in their consumption habits or in their greater likelihood for future behavioural adjustments, underscores the appropriateness of any decision that focuses on them exclusively, or as contrasting groups in baseline studies on leisure behaviour. . It is against this background that the present study examines the challenges facing the tourism and hospitality in Imo state with particular reference to Imo concord hotel Owerri.
1.2. STATEMENT OF PROBLEM:
Owing to the sudden but expected boom in the tourism and hospitality industry worldwide, every country is on the lookout on how to improve their tourism and hospitality industry so as to achieve their desired aim.
In Nigeria, over the years the tourism and hospitality industry have been experiencing a lot of setbacks which ranges from transportation problems to accommodation and security. This research work therefore seeks to explore the challenges facing the hospitality and tourism industry in Imo state with particular reference to Imo concord Hotel Owerri.
1.3. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY:
The following forms the objectives of the study;
1. To investigate the challenges facing the tourism and hospitality industry in Imo state.
2. To investigate also the causes of these challenges found in the sector
3. To suggest a possible means of minimizing or stopping the challenges faced by this sector
1.4. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY:
It is the expectations of the researcher that at the end of this research work, the researcher will have been able to establish the various challenges facing the hospitality industry in Nigeria especially Imo state concord hotel Owerri and devise possible means of solving or overcoming these challenges.
1.5. RESEARCH QUESTION:
The following forms the research questions of the study;
1. Are there challenges facing the hospitality industry in Imo state concord hotel?
2. Have the hotel taken any step so far to solve these challenges?
3. How developed is the hospitality industry in Imo state?
4. What are the challenges facing the hospitality industry in Imo state?
1.6. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS:
The following forms the research hypothesis of the study;
HO: Concord Hotel Owerri is facing challenges in its management
HI: Concord hotel Owerri is facing no challenges in its management
HO: The challenges faced by the hospitality industry affects it annual turn
overs HO: The challenges faced by the hospitality industry do not affect its annual
1.7. SCOPE OF THE STUDY:
The project work is structured in such a way that the chapter one presents the general introduction, the background and other research rudiments necessary for the research. Chapter two presents the review of literature of the work. Here, the previous researches conducted by other researchers are reviewed by the researcher as well as a general and comprehensive review of the topic under research. Chapter three dealt with the research methodology where details of the method used for the information and material gathering was sited. Chapter four presents the result generated by the distributed questionnaires in chapter three and chapter five which is the last chapter presents the summary, conclusion and recommendation of the research work.
1.8. DEFINITION OF TERMS:
To fully comprehend the topic under discussion, the researcher believes that definition of the following terms will be of a great help;
TOURISM: The commercial organization and operation of holidays and visits to places of interest.
CHALLENGE: the situation of being faced with something that needs great mental or physical effort in order to be done successfully and therefore tests a person's ability
DEVELOPMENT: grow or cause to grow and become more mature, advanced, or elaborate.
IMPACT: the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another.
HOSPITALITY: The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.
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