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Public–Private Partnership: A Probable Panacea for Ecotourism Development in Anambra State, Nigeria
Why is tourism not developed in Anambra state, despite enormous tourist attractions? Who manages tourist attractions in Anambra state? Publicprivate partnerships (PPPs) seem to offer a lot of hopes in providing efficiency where government management is not good enough. Some African nations have tinned to PPP to solve troublesome developmental issues. Although some scholars have accused PPP of coming with mixed benefits, but, it ensures productive output and increases in infrastructural development. Unfortunately, there is paucity of literature on PPP and ecotourism development in developing nations like Nigeria. Therefore, the study aims to know the possibility of using PPP to develop ecotourism attractions in southeastern Nigeria, using Anambra State as reference point. The study adopted both quantitative and qualitative method. The former entails selection of key informants in selected conununities, namely, Amaokpala, Agulu, Owerrezukalla, Ufiinia, Ogbunike, Awka, Okpeze, Ndiukwuenu, and staff of related ministries. The quantitative aspect entails using a total of 480 questionnaires distributed randomly across these conununities. The study revealed that most of the ecotourism attractions in Anambra State are not developed due to meager state resources, shortage of tourism experts, and government poor attention to tourism sector tourism sector. Furthermore, these conununities accepted that PPP is the best strategy to develop natural attractions in their conununities: this was collaborated by results from related ministries. The chapter thus argues that to develop ecotourism attractions in Anambra State, PPP is one of the methods that will be used and accepted by these conununities; second, the host conununities believe that it will ensure sustainable development, whereas staff of related ministries are of the view that it will augment government poor attention and funding to tourism development in the state. Therefore, the PPP agreement must be economically beneficial, culturally acceptable, and environmentally compatible to ensure sustainability. The study is of immense benefit to tourism stakeholders, policymakers, and invaluable to the academic world.
Anambra State has hundreds of tourist attractions existing in different forms: natural, manmade, historic, and cultural. Developing tourist attractions in the state has been sluggish, and most of the attractions are not known beyond the conununity and local government where they exist. This has made the touristic appeal of these attractions veiy poor (Odum, 2017). Meanwhile, some of these tourist attractions despite being undeveloped generate little income to the host conununities endowed with them, especially eco-tourist attractions like caves. A well-developed eco-tourist attraction has the capacity to generate income for the state and host conununities, create employment for the locals, and help to conserve the attraction itself for posterity by using hinds generated from visitors and tourists, while its academic and scientific merits cannot be overlooked.
Anambra State is blessed with many eco-tourist attractions such as streams, lakes, rivers that harbor aquatic organisms ranging from different species of fishes to crocodiles. There are caves with beautiful scenery and tranquil environment; moreover, some of these caves harbor some fauna that adds beauty to them, like lions (Panthera leo), grass-cutter (Thryonomys swinderianus), porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) (Onwudufor and Odum, 2014), and beautiful vegetation. The state has about eight forest reserves and many ungazetted forests; many of the ungazetted forests harbor fauna such as Cercopithecus sclateri, a species of monkeys found near forests in Umuawulu axis. This species of monkey is adjudged to be endemic in the area (Baker, 2012 in Odum, 2014) with attendant environmental values.
Therefore, the chapter aims at exploring public-private partnership (PPP) as a way of developing eco-tourist attractions especially eco-tourist attractions in the state given that PPP is usually advocated due to quest for infrastructure, paucity of government fund, and the willingness of the private sector to assist (Herpen, 2002). The limited number of professionals to manage and develop tourism resources in has been a challenge facing tourism in the state (Odum, 2018). PPP is advocated for where the government can state the quality of service they need from the private sector, and the service measured against specified indicators. And, an effective PPP ensures high-quality service delivery to consumers and government at cheaper cost unlike government provision of such services (International Monetary Fund, 2004).
What are the eco-tourist attractions in Anambra state? Why are eco-tourist attractions in Anambra state undeveloped? Who is responsible for managing these attractions? Can PPP help in developing these attractions? What is the view of community people and government staff of ecotourism-related ministries about using PPP to develop ecotourism resources? Given this background, the study is set to highlight some eco-tourist attractions in Anambra state and their current status, evaluate perceptions of selected communities and staff of Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, Culture, and Tourism and Ministry of Environment regarding the use of PPP in developing tourism in the state.
This study is relevant because most tourist attractions in the state are undeveloped; therefore, exploring opportunities for developing these attractions is paramount due to the need to diverse the state and Nigeria source of income. Besides, tourism seems to offer an alternative to the nation’s over reliance on crude oil (Okonkwo and Odum, 2010). Second, getting the perception of community members on using PPP as an approach to develop eco-tourist attractions is necessary as the findings will be relevant to policymakers who need them to avoid formulating policies that are not only in tandem with the host community realities but also ones that may jeopardize the interest of these attractions. Furthermore, this seems to be the first attempt to X-ray PPP as an option for ecotourism development in Anambra State.
Nigeria is endowed with a lot of ecotourism attractions. Odunlami (2003) has assessed the ecotourism potential of Yankari National Park. Ijeomah and Alao (2007) did a study on the popular Farm Ruwa in Nasarawa state, and Ajake et al. (2013) did a related study in an uncharted natural attraction in Cross River State.
Within the southeastern part of Nigeria, Ewelum (2015) carried out an assessment of ecotourism attractions in Enugu state. Ecotour ism attractions in Anambra State have been studied by different scholars; some of the studies that are tourism related are Agulu lake (Aziekwe, 2008; Okeke and Nwokolo, 2008; Odum, 2017), Arnaokpala lake (Odum, 2017), Ogbunike cave (Okani, 1996; Odum, 2011, 2017), Owenezukalla cave (Itanyi et al., 2013), Ajalli cave (Oguamanarn and Nwankwo, 2015), and Ufuma cave (Onwudufor and Odum, 2015; Odum, 2017). Ukpaka (2014) highlighted the implications of sruviving flora in Anambra state; Odum (2017) studied Umuawulu forest (ungazetted) and gazetted forest reserves, namely, Akpaka Forest Reserve, Agu-aba Forest Reserve, and Мати forest.
All the stirdies cited above directed the attention of government and community members to the benefits (income, jobs, and conservation) of developing these ecotourism attractions, their challenges and prospects, as well as their academic merits. Nevertheless, none of these studies explored the role of PPP in developing these attractions. Although Odum (2017) hinted at PPP as a way of developing these attr actions, he failed to give a detailed account of how it could be done.
THE RATIONALE FOR PPP IN TOURISM
Economic meltdown has made governments to look for alternative means of funding projects and privatization of some services that it usually provides (Hall, 1999, 2008), and tourism, being one of the sectors that is capital intensive, has necessitated the need for it to be funded through any other means other than government. This is further enhanced by the interdependent nature of tourism sector leading to the call for interorganizational relationship. Discourse on collaboration and partnership has elicited different approaches and perspectives, leading to terms like community-based tourism (Maria and Hall, 2012). It has been adjudged to be beneficial in tourism development. Collaboration in developing tourist attraction seems to be envogue and one of such collaborations is PPP.
Goloran et al. (2015) have shown where PPP collaboration was used in promoting in World Heritage Site and drawn extra resources for training of locals and building infrastructure in Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Philippines. It has helped the locals in getting more skills as tourist guides, generate income, and protection of invaluable cultural heritage in Botswana, the Tsodilo Hills World Heritage Site (Mbaiwa, 2015). PPP can equally be all encompassing by involving both national and regional government with international organizations or agencies. This was demonstrated in Yangon and Nyaungshwe Lakes of Myanmar (located in geogr aphic boundaries of China and India).
The government of Tanzania using PPP was able to restore and conserve the Chumbe Island located off the coast of Zanzibar. Environmental nongovernmental organization was drafted to sensitize the people and engage local fishermen to assist in the protection of the native ecosystem that has coral reef under threat due to overfishing and unwholesome fishing practices. The destination was revived and maintained without any cost from the government.
Tanzina et al. (2013) listed countries where PPP has been of immense benefit to such as Russian government soliciting for PPP for 2014 Winter-Olympics; India with successful record of PPP in Jal Mahal Tourism Projects. Within the same country, PPP was adjudged to be successful in Kerala Travel Mart (Menon and Edward, 2014). It was used successfully in the London Olympic Games in 2012. South Africa has some of its National Parks contracted out for management through PPP; one of the parks is Kruger National Park. Ten years’ build-operate-transfer (ВОТ) approach was used (Peter, 2005). Collaboration has been seen to be useful in development of tourism (Menon and Edward, 2014; Kumar et al., 2015; Ekpenyong and Mmom, 2015), therefore keying into collaboration like PPP will be ideal for ecotourism development resources in Anambra State.