Assessment Of Tourists Perception Of The Yankari Game Reserve As A Tourist Destination

Project and Seminar Material for Environmental Science

Assessment Of Tourists Perception Of The Yankari Game Reserve As A Tourist Destination


Abstract


The study assessed the Yankari Games Reserve as a tourist destination by investigating the perception of the tourists who patronize it. The assessment used indicators including the level of patronage in number of tourists attracted annually, wildlife resources of the reserve, infrastructure, facilities and safety. The method employed reconnaissance survey of the reserve for observations and the administering of questionnaires to a sample of the tourists. The sample of 50 respondents, representing 10% of the average daily number of tourists received during the period of the survey was used.

The study showed that in the last decade tourist inflow has continued to rise. The assessment of the perception of the tourists shows that most travel to Yankari for viewing game, which is the most important attraction. The survey also showed that tourists are satisfied with the park with 42% indicating preference of Yankari over other parks in Nigeria. The study also showed that Yankari could be better if the master plan for its development is fully implemented. The reserve however has a good prospect in view of richness of its resources. Proposals were made on appropriate policies and institutional framework to develop the park to a higher standard comparable to similar ones in other parts of the world which have been reviewed in the study.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Tourism destination is a physical space in which a visitor spends at least one night. It includes tourism products such as support services, attractions and tourism resources within one day’s return travel time. It has physical and administrative boundaries defining its management, image and perceptions defining its market competitiveness. Destination incorporates various stakeholders often including a host community (WTO, 2004). Nigeria, in addition to its huge population, is endowed with significant agricultural, mineral, marine and forest resources. Its multiple vegetation zones host a unique assemblage of wildlife. There are eight (8) National Parks distributed across the major ecological zones of Nigeria. These are: Chad Basin; Cross River, Gashaka/Gumti, Kainji Lake, Old Oyo, Kamuku, Okomu and Yankari National Parks. Yankari Game Reserve is the most popular destination for tourists in Nigeria and as such plays a crucial role in the development and promotion of tourism and ecotourism in Nigeria. It is also one of the most popular eco destinations in West Africa. Wikkipaedia (2012).

Yankari National Park started as a game reserve in 1956 and was later upgraded to the status of a National Park by the Federal Government in 1991 It has been under the management of the National Parks Service, an agency of the Federal Ministry of Environment. The Yankari Game Reserve covers an area of about 2,244 Km2, is home to numerous species of wild life. It also has several natural archaeological attractions including the Durkkey Wells, Marshal Caves Wikki Warm Spring and Wikki Camp. In line with the National Park Service Act Amendment Bill, 2005, the Bauchi State Government took over the Yankari National Park from the Federal Government in 2006, with the view to raise the standard of Yankari Game Reserve to an international standard both in terms of nature reserve and tourism attraction. This research explores the current situation of Yankari Game Reserve and assesses its performance as a tourists destination.


1.2 Statement of the Research Problem

Yankari Game Reserve is one of the few places where ecotourists are guaranteed to seeing diverse and varied wildlife species at most times of the year, therefore Yankari is the premier nature tourism destination in Nigeria and play critical role in the development and promotion of tourism and ecotourism in particular in Nigeria.

In 2006, the reserve assumed the status of Yankari Game Reserve, after its take- over from the Federal Government (Yankari National Park) by the Bauchi State Government. In 2006, there was mass renovation and development of some infrastructural facilities. These includes renovation of the seventy four(74) kilometres of road from main road to the reserve, renovation of presidential lodge, two (2) modes’ suites, 100 chalets, building of new students hostel and reception units and purchase of new viewing trunks. Reports from the Press and Government have said there is rise in tourist visitation to Yankari Game Reserve in line with this development.

However, preliminary observations appear to point to less than satisfactory levels of tourist visitation. therefore, the strength of attraction of Yankari Game Reserve needs to be ascertained by analysing the pattern of tourists visits, level of infrastructural facilities, accessibility, wildlife resources, safety and recreation facilities provision. This is to be related to the adequacy of improvements made by the Yankari Game Reserve management in reference to the goal of Yankari Game Reserve. On this basis, the research will assess the Yankari Game Reserve as it relates to its current situation and seeking explanation for any problems constraining higher tourists visitation to the reserve.

Accordingly, the research attempts to answer the following question:

  • What is the status and tourist perception of the Yankari Game Reserve?

1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to assess the Yankari Game Reserve as tourist destination through an investigation of the current status and the perception of tourists on its performance.

  1. To review existing developments of wildlife and tourism destinations in Nigeria and Africa.
  2. To examine the current situation of Yankari Game Reserve.
  3. To assess the performance of Yankari Game Reserve as tourist destination.
  4. To make appropriate recommendations for improvement of the performance of the game reserve.

1.4 Research Questions

Question One

How attractive is the Yankari Game Reserve as a tourist destination

Question Two

Opinion on level and quality of infrastructural Facilities in the camp by Tourists


1.5 Significance of the Study

The result of this study would help to bring to light the assessment of tourist perception of the Yankari games reserve. Also, it would help the management evaluate the past and if possible make amend where necessary.

The result would help the management to see the extent their main objectives are being achieved.

It is hoped that the result of the study would create base that would facilitate the understanding of need for change and plan a head for the effect.


1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study

The scope of this study is principally to assess the performance of Yankari Game Reserve as a tourist destination with reference to the perception of the tourists and the attributes in terms of the resource base and facilities. The later include review of available facilities, accessibility, wildlife resources, recreational facilities and the safety of the Yankari Game Reserve as a tourist destination.


1.7 Definition of Terms

Tourist:

This is a person who is visiting a place for pleasure and interest especially when they are on holidays.

Tourism:

The act and process of spending time away from home in pursuit of recreation, relaxation, and pleasure, while making use of the commercial provision of services.


1.8 Organisation of the Study

This study is arranged under five chapters. The background information to the study, statement of the research problem, the objectives of the researcher, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope of the study and organisation to the study are contained in the first chapter. It also contains the definitions of key concepts used in the research work. Chapter two contains review of relevant literature to the study and the establishment of the theoretical and empirical frame work for the study. The third chapter establishes the methodology used in carrying out the study and the statistical tools used in the analysis of data. The presentation and analysis of both primary and secondary data is carried out in the fourth chapter. The fifth chapter concludes the study where the findings, summary, recommendations, conclusions and limitations of the research are established.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary of Findings

This study was designed and undertaken to make a assessment of Yankari Game Reserve as tourists destination. The study discovered that there is an increase in the level of patronage of the game reserve owing to the improvement of facilities of the reserve over time, but the increase is not too encouraging to meet up with the target. The study also revealed that, there are factors associated with the destination of the reserve ranging from poor maintenance of facilities, politicization of management, inadequate power supply, problems of accessibility; and poor renumeration of staff. Addressing these problems highlighted will go a long way towards making the Yankari Game Reserve as tourist destination.


5.2 Recommendations

The assessment has establishment the level of the attractiveness of Yankari Game Reserve which were found to be not quite attractive to meet up with the international standard. Therefore from the identified factors that were found to be responsible for the out come of the assessment. The following recommendation were hereby offered with the view to improve on the reserve as tourist destination.

Infrastructure and Development

In 2006/2007 after the state government took over the management of the Yankari Game Reserve from the Federal Government, the government embarked on general infrastructural development such as renovation of existing camp facilities, road rehabilitation, and purchase of game viewing trucks, yet there is still need to improve on these:-

The government should try to complete the development plan of the Yankari Game Reserve set up in two phase which currently is still under the first phase.

The government should build or establish airstrips in the reserve in order to encourage tourists especially the international tourists for their easy arrival and departure.

Provision of cable-car system to take tourists through the very rugged but scenic terrain of mountains, e.g. Tunga Dutse of sandstone rock embankment across Dwall river.

Development of additional facilities in sports and shopping centre to compliment the recreational facilities such as wiki warm springs and game views.

Development of community social centre: the host communities around the reserve need to be provided with social centre to show their rich cultural heritage through their arts and craft. This will help the communities generate and improve on their income and as well it will encourage more tourist visitation to the reserve as some may just want to come to see or buy some of these products.

Fencing of camp: The camp area of Yankari Game Reserve need to be fenced, this will help to regulate trespass of wild animals across the camp area. Some of these animals may be dangerous; they can easily attack anybody they encounter. Olive Baboons pursue tourists even to their cars or rooms when they you with something that interest them.

Provision of Adequate Funds

Funds are critical to actualization of any given development projects such as game reserve which require long term investment. Therefore is a capital intensive.

The Yankari Game Reserve authority should try to diversify their sources of funds through partnership with national or international organisations such as United Nations on biodiversity and other individuals or cooperate organisations that wish to invest in such areas.

Institutional Framework

The government and the appropriate authorities concerned should constitute a body of experts in tourism sector to carry out a comprehensive study on current operating realities of Yankari Game Reserve vis-a-vis to other national parks that are considered viable and international standard in order to learn useful lessons regarding how their system performed well.

Legislative Framework: The government need to create a legislative committee in the state assembly to work in harmony with the executive for effective function of the reserve.

Wildlife Resources

The ecological problem today such as climate change and pollution. Many animals are in trouble due to the habitat loss and this can be achieved through reforestation and pest control techniques. Therefore wildlife management requires multi- displinary approach, including experts in disciplines such chemistry, biology, ecology, climatology and geography amongst others, in this case Yankari Game Reserve management should take note.

The Yankari Game Reserve in conjunction with other governmental bodies should fashion out a process to facilitate community empowerment with a view to diverting the attention of the inhabitants of the surrounding communities from reserve resources of which most of them depend on, depleting the resources especially the wildlife to some extent some species into extinction. This could be best achieved by full implementation of policy on Support Zone Community Programme (SZCP). This policy helps to provide the communities around the reserve with incentives, this will try to reduce pressure on the reserve resources.

Public Private Partnership

The State Government should fashion out way to allow private individual and cooperate organisations to participate in the running and management of the game reserve, this will help to ameliorate the cost and politicization of the management. The presence of hospitality facilities such as Protea Hotel, Bauchi, Yankari National Park lodge, VIP Suites, Zaranda Hotel, Awala Hotel Ltd and Horizontal Hotel need to be strengthen to continue to offer hospitality services to the tourists needs to camp outside the game reserve or at a peak period when accommodation are scarce.
Staff Welfare and Training

The staff of the Yankari Game Reserve should be properly catered for through the improvement of their general welfare. This could be paying the staff their service charge promptly and other allowance that they are due for.
The management or government should encourage their staff to time to time be allowed to attend workshops or long term training to update their skill and knowledge. This will go a long way to enable the staff to put in their best for greater productivity and efficiency especially Rangers need to be retrained and equipped in order to safeguard the tourists on game viewing


5.3 Conclusion

Predicated upon the findings of the study, the analysis of data obtained from the questionnaire administered to the respondents and the lessons learnt, the following conclusions have been drawn:

  1. The Yankari Game Reserve is not attractive enough to compete favourable with other Game Reserve of international standard.
  2. The low attraction of the game reserve results from general neglect of the Yankari Game Reserve by government and authorities concerned.
  3. The Yankari Game Reserve is mostly patronized by domestic tourist because it runs short of international standard in terms of attractiveness.
  4. Lack of constant power or electricity supply is a major factor that militates against the performance of the game reserve as a tourist destination.
  5. Improper maintenance of existing park facilities and depletion of resources have seriously affected the socio spatial characteristic of Yankari Game Reserve as a tourist destination.
  6. A comprehensive revenue of the operating realistic of the Yankari Game Reserve with particular focus on addressing the major problems delighted with positively transform the fortune of the game reserve and enhanced its attractiveness as a tourist destination.

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