Table of Contents:
A total of 25 respondents from staff of the related ministries used in the study form the bulk of the respondents. A total of 40 copies of questionnaires were distributed in both ministries with each having 20 copies. After a month’s interval, 25 copies of the questionnaire were returned from both ministries. Tourism department has 14 respondents representing 56%, while forestry department has 11 respondents representing 44% as represented in Figure 7.2.
FIGURE 7.2 Ministries used in the study.
Source: Authors’ fieldwork (2017).
Build-operate-own seems to be a better option for developing eco-tourist attractions in Anambra State for the following reasons: the tenured nature of government which might affect BOT option because a new government might not be interested in developing tourism in the state; rather, attention will be given to other infrastructure the electorate can see before the end of 4 years in office, which has always been the case over the years; second, the state seems not to have enough fund to invest in tourism since tourism is capital intensive, while build-operate-own will give the managers opportunity to employ best hands instead of government employment that is usually maned with bias and corrupt practices, coupled with the attitude of government employees who see government work as “our things” and that government job is not to be taken seriously. However, build-operate-own management will make sine that profit margin is gotten to ensure prompt payment of salaries of its workers. Moreover, it must remit an agreed percentage to the government coffers per annum on an agreed amount, which can be reviewed periodically.
FIGURE 7.3 Categorization of development options from staff of the Department of Tourism and Forestry of the Ministries used for the study.
Source: Author’s fieldwork (2017).
DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
Table 7.3 shows a list of some of the ecotourism attractions in Anambra state. Ninety-five percent of these natural attractions are not known or developed. Some of them are not known beyond the immediate community where they are located, while the government agency that is meant to document and manage these attractions does not have a comprehensive list of tourist attractions in the state (Odum, 2017), although this may not be unconnected to government poor funding of the tourism department in the State. Table 7.3 reveals that most of these attractions are not developed. This was part of what necessitated this study and the call for alternative means of developing them other than government funding and development. Besides, host communities are yearning for the development of these resources over the years and they see government as not being sincere toward developing tourism resources.
TABLE 7.4 Variants of Public-Private Partnership.
BBO, buy-build-operate; BDO, build-develop-operate; BLOT, build-lease-operate-transfer; BOO, build-own-operate; BOOT, btiild-own-operate-transfer; ВОТ, build-operate-transfer; BROT, build-rent-own-transfer; BTO, build-transfer-operate; DBFO, design-build-finance-operate; DCMF, design-construct-manage-finance; LDO, lease-develop-operate; WAA, wrap-around addition.
Source: International Monetary Fund (2004).
The result of assessing the acceptability of PPP as a means of developing eco-tourist attr actions by the government (staff of the ministries used for the study) showed that PPP as an option for the management of eco-tourist attractions in the state was accepted by 96.2% and while 3.8% want the private sector to manage these ecotourism attractions alone without government input. This implies that some of the staff that chose private management may be skeptical about their job security if PPP is used. All the staff who supported PPP believed that ecotourism attractions in the state are long overdue for development and that developing them will make them to be useful to the system and contribute their knowledge to tourism development in the state. They attested that government meager resources and lack of qualified tourism personnel can be curtailed through
PPP. This assertion is in tandem with the views of Dredge and Jenkins (2007) concerning tourism planning and policy. The result tallies with the findings from all the communities, where they voted 100% for PPP. They are of the view that since government has not shown much effort toward the development of these attractions, PPP offers them a lot of opportunity to benefit from what nature has bequeathed to their conununity. Furthermore, most of the informants revealed that in other states or countries where these eco-tourist resources are located the conununities benefit a lot and it gives them a sense of pride. One of the informants in Agulu argued that if the lake is developed, that it will be better than developed lakes in southeast due to the crocodiles therein, and waiting for government is a mirage.
Similar studies across the globe have advocated for PPP as a viable tool for development of tourist attractions. It can be applied in management of forest reserves (Ngoka et al., 2014) and caves (Onwudufor and Odum, 2015). Tanzina et al. (2013) have advocated for PPP with the belief that it can augment limited government budgets. On a broader scale, Ekpenyong and Mmom (2015) have advocated for PPP and tourism in Niger Delta region of Nigeria. This makes it imperative for a state like Anambra, which has other developmental projects competing for the state meager or limited resources, to explore PPP as an option in developing its natural tourist attractions.
Outright privatization might make tourism seivices more expensive to the consumer and tourism development in the state seems to be at elementary stage, which means that most of the consumer are probably domestic tourists with limited income. Moreover, Anambra is surrounded by other states that have similar attractions that might be competing for tourist’s attention. Therefore, outright privatization might shoot the price of privately eco-tourists destinations in the state high. This may affect the tourism market of Anambra.
The undeveloped nature of eco-tourist attractions in the state seems to scare any government that comes into power in the state, because of the 4-year tenure, every government is usually interested in executing projects in shortest possible time. The capital intensiveness of developing tourism, and the fact that its utmost benefits may yield in near future time and makes developing tourist attractions a “less-traveled” road by successive government.
Based on the aforewritten, it is pertinent to look at what it will take for PPP to thrive in Anambra state. PPP cannot succeed without appropriate regulatory framework, political commitment, and good governance. This will be followed by a working and efficient legal system in the state to assure private investors that agreement with government will be honored. Presently, government of Anambra state has shown elements of commitment in the development of tourism in Anambra state. For example, the government has tarred the road leading to and has put up some structures in Owerre-Ezukala cave and water fall in the state. Although this is a right step in the right direction, it is not enough. Currently, the government contracted hotel enumeration job in the state out to a private organization; a private firm (Golden Tulip) is managing the hotel built by government near Agulu Lake.
Figure 7.4 shows the first responsibility of government is to show willingness in developing tourism, and this is known by making tourism a priority, creating policies that will encourage private investors to participate in developing tourist attractions. Such policies must cover the host community interest to avoid conflicts. The government should provide tax rebate for tourism investors; this will encourage other investors. Government policies should ensure that investors are assured that their money is guaranteed in case government defaults in any agreement. Figure 7.3 shows different aspects of likely government responsibilities in Anambra State.
FIGURE 7.4 Government role in public-private partnership in Anambra state. Source: Authors’ creation.
This is followed by provision of land for building infrastructure. Government is usually the sole owner of land in Nigeria (see Land Use Act Decree No. 6 of 1978). Therefore, the need for government to give land to investors or lease is necessary here. These portions of land are where support facilities will be built. Compensation of communities will be the responsibilities of either government or the investors, depending on what the agreement between both parties says. Almost all the natural attractions in the state have no built accommodation facilities near them, except the recent hotel built close to Agulu Lake. Furthermore, government should create access routes to tourist attractions so that investors can come in. There are cases where the communities do not allow government and tourism stakeholders to come and access these attractions. Currently, kingship tussle has affected the development of Owerrezukalla cave and waterfall. Government should sue for peace in such conununities before bringing investors.
EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT
Private investors are usually motivated by profit unlike government. The quest for profit might make private investors not to adhere to laid down rules and regulations in developing tourism in the state: therefore, it is the responsibility of government to go for periodic evaluation and assessment of management standards in destinations that are given to private investors. Here, also, the interest of government workers should not be undermined by the private investors. The government should create ways or methods to ensure that negative impact of developing tourist attractions like environmental pollution, noise pollution, overcrowding, and so on are controlled and mitigated.
PPP must ensure that developing eco-tourist attractions is in tandem with socio-cultural milieu in Anambra State, that is, environmentally compatible; the development is not polluting the ecosystem and is economically beneficial to all relevant stakeholders. For instance, the people of Agulu will not accept any development of the lake that undermines the cultural uses/values of crocodiles in their lake.
The private investors or sector in the PPP agreement should provide infrastructure. Majority of the hotels in Anambra state are private owned; there are no single accommodation facilities in close proximity to where these attractions are located, with exception of Agulu. There is no public convenience to cater for visitors and tourists where these attractions are located, except in Ogbunike cave and recently, in Owerre-Ezukala cave and waterfall. Roads leading to these attractions are untarred. All these can be provided by the private sector. There is shortage of personnel and lack of professionalism in public service. Therefore, the private sector should provide the necessary manpower and finesse to manage eco-tourist destinations in the state, sponsor trainings for staff and tourism stakeholders in the state for quality and efficient service delivery. Other concerns of the private sector include safeguarding of tourist attractions against misuse by community members and tourists, security of tourists, and visitors are essential to protect the image of the destination.
Furthermore, creating of database for tourist attractions in the state will help the private sector to know what type of attraction they are interested in and the locations. What is the profile of tourists/visitors coming to the state? Such database helps in planning and will give the private sector a clue of the profit margin they are expecting. The private sector should manage the advertisement of tourist attractions in the state as shown in Figure 7.5.
FIGURE 7.5 The role of private investors in PPP in Anambra state. Source: Authors’ creation.
CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS
This study submits that PPP can be used to develop ecotourism resources in Anambra State given the prevailing challenges affecting tourism development in the state. Moreover, PPP has been used in developing tourist attractions in different parts of the world as mention earlier. Although, we support the use of PPP, its application should be adapted to suit the socio-setting of the study area. Given the present government poor attention to tourism and ecotourism resources in the state, seeking alternative means of developing these resources becomes inevitable. Second, community members and staff of related ministries support PPP as an alternative means of developing eco-tourist attractions in the state. Moreover, such partnership should ensure the interest of host conununities are considered from the preliminary stage of such partnership to ensure sustainability. Furthermore, the built-operate-own option of PPP was equally advocated due the political terrain of the state. Conversely, we advocate the use of PPP for ecotourism development in developing nations such as Nigeria where government interest in tourism appears inconsistent.
The study recommends a further study should be carried out in line with exploring other variants of PPP other than the one suggested in this study as an option, and the demerits and merits associated with each. This can be followed by constraints associated with government and private partnership in developing tourist attraction. Such studies will aid this baseline we have created, and will be beneficial to policymakers and related tourism stakeholders.
We suggest that the Nigeria Conservation Foundation, National Park Services, Conservation International, IUCN, and so on need to be attracted to the state for further studies on these attractions.
Anambra attraction public-private partnership sustainable development tourism
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