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Residents' perceptions toward socio-cultural issues in regional tourism development in Anambra and Enugu States of Southeastern Nigeria

Eyisi, Afamefuna Paul (2021) Residents' perceptions toward socio-cultural issues in regional tourism development in Anambra and Enugu States of Southeastern Nigeria. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Research on residents’ perceptions of the socio-cultural issues in tourism development in Southeastern Nigeria are limited. Drawing from collaboration and responsible tourism frameworks, this thesis explores residents’ perceptions of tourism impacts; the resources that could be harnessed; and how to support the responsible development of tourism in the region. Southeastern Nigeria is home to the Igbo tribe, comprising Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo. The thesis focuses on selected clans in Anambra and Enugu States. The discussions are presented from an emic perspective because I am a member of the Igbo society, have acquired western knowledge and am involved in tourism education.

This research adopts a qualitative design, and takes an ethnographic approach to understand how participants construct knowledge about socio-cultural issues associated with regional tourism development. Using a purposive sampling technique targeted at people in key positions 216 tourism stakeholders including traditional rulers, men, women and youth representatives, chief priests, security agents and tourism officials were identified to take part in interviews and focus group discussions. Data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

The analysis identified five categories that influenced residents’ perceptions of tourism issues (governance, tourism, religion, community and culture/gender-related attributes). The results showed that whilst tourism is in the exploratory stage, it remains a perceived strategy for community development and cultural revival. The findings also indicated that neo-colonialism, Christianity and culture influence how residents perceived tourism in the area. Some strategies are discussed for addressing the challenges, such as glocalization, decentralizing tourism planning and genuine stakeholder collaboration.

The results highlighted issues and strategies that could inform developers on gaining and improving residents’ perceptions in the region. The study confirmed that residents’ perceptions are influenced by destination-specific factors, such as neo-colonialism, the newness of tourism, religion and culture in the Igbo society. Further research is needed to highlight other factors that influence how residents perceive tourism impacts.

Keywords: Tourism development, Southeastern Nigeria, socio-cultural impacts, responsible tourism, stakeholder collaboration, community participation

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Social Sciences and Arts
Supervisor(s): Lee, Diane and Trees, Kathryn
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