1.1 Background to the Study
Religion being a universal entity has been discussed by several scholars including J.S Mill, Emile Durkheim and E.B Idowu. It is as old as man, dates back to about 2000 years ago. Both religion and tourism cannot exist without humans, this stands to mean that both religion and tourism are practiced by humans. It has been discovered from a study that in other to understand and relate well with man, one has to have knowledge of his religion; reason being that it is the pivot with which other aspects of his life revolves. Due to some practices and acts attached to religion, most especially African religion, the wave of westernization seems to be blowing it into extinction (Awolalu & Dopamu, 2005: 278). The coming of the whites alongside the introduction of their own religion (Christianity) has contributed to the death and epileptic state of our African customs, beliefs and values. Africans have been brain washed that we do not attach respect, interest, and value to our African religion any more Awolalu & Dopamu, 2005: 284). African religion is characterized with a lot of challenges. A good example is a case where priesthood is hereditary and when it gets to a person’s turn, it is discovered that the person has left to further his education. Irrespective of the challenges tied to religion, it still remains a viable tool in achieving sustainable development. It is also pertinent to state that religion has a great effect on tourism. Religion has influenced the tourism sector tremendously, even as some religious sites have over the years helped in promoting tourism.
Tourism of late has been revealed to be one of the fastest growing sectors of an economy. An analysis by Mani (2003), revealed an annual growth rate of 4% by the tourist sector of countries like UK, Italy, Spain, USA; including some African countries like Tunisia, morocco, Egypt, Kenya and South Africa. He added that there is an increase in the tourism sector due to increase in tourists’ arrivals. Statistics has shown that tourism contributes about 10% to an economy and can employ about one-tenth of the world’s work force (Mirbabayer & Shagazatova, 2009).
In addition, a prediction by the World Tourist Organization (WTO) has that by 2020 the number of international tourists will add up to 1.7billion, against 567million in 1995(ILO, 2001). However, the mono-cultural state of Nigeria poses a serious challenge on the growth of the tourism industry. Nigeria, an economy well-endowed with vast resources and favorable climatic conditions all contribute towards making the tourism industry very viable.
The impact of religion on the development of tourism is really broad, as it affects it in so many ways. Religious sites across many countries of the world serve as attractive tourist sites for both international and local tourists. The success and growth of these tourist sites is based on the how best these are maintained in other to keep tourists always coming back. Hitherto, religion has kept tourist sites quite active has it gives it life due to how frequent tourists visit. Religious activities like Christians visit to Jerusalem and Muslims visit to Mecca; including festivities contribute towards the development of the tourism and hospitality industry of Nigeria. Conclusively, in other to know more on the role of religion on tourism industry, this study aims at examining this.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Over the years, it has been observed that our African religion is gradually going into extinction. Due to this, the tourism industry of Nigeria is greatly affected. Westernization and the introduction of Christianity have contributed in wiping off our beliefs, customs and values; this has caused tourist attractions connected to such religions to be abandoned.
Similarly, due to the fact that Nigeria is a mono-economy, the government has little or no interest in the funding and maintenance of tourist sites. In addition, Nigerians lack good hospitable means of treating tourists. Nigerians tend to scare tourists through our words and actions, thereby scaring them from either visiting or coming back. All these culminate in the problems associated with the impact of religion on the development of tourism and hospitality industry of Nigeria; and this study seeks to proffer solutions to them.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to examine the role of religion on tourism industry in Nigeria. Other specific objectives of the study are stated below as follows:
1. To examine the relationship between religion and tourism development in Nigeria.
2. To examine the effect of Christianity on tourism and hospitality development in Nigeria.
3. To investigate on the contribution of living faith church to the development of tourism and hospitality industry of Nigeria
4. To determine the factors affecting the tourism and hospitality industry of Nigeria.
5. To proffer solution to the above problems.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The study came up with the following research questions so as to ascertain the above stated objectives. The research questions are as follows:
1. Is there any the relationship between religion and tourism development in Nigeria?
2. What is the effect of Christianity on tourism and hospitality development in Nigeria?
3. What are the contributions of living faith church to the development of tourism and hospitality industry of Nigeria?
4. What are the factors affecting the tourism and hospitality industry of Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: Religion has no significant effect on the development of the tourism and hospitality industry of Nigeria
H1: Religion has a significant effect on the development of the tourism and hospitality industry of Nigeria.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study is meant to inform, educate and enlighten the general public, government and policy makers on the role of religion on tourism industry. This study aims at educating the general public on the importance of religion on the development of the tourism and hospitality industry of Nigeria. It is meant to remind the general public that they have a role to play in development of the tourism and hospitality industry of Nigeria.
This study also seeks to remind the government of Nigeria that a greater junk of the work on the development of tourism and hospitality industry of Nigeria lays on them. It is meant to spur them to be on their toes towards achieving this.
Finally, policy makers equally play a part towards achieving the role of religion on tourism industry. It is expected that they should come up with policies that will support the development of the tourism and hospitality industry of Nigeria.
1.7 Justification of the Study
The research work is focused on the religious activities and events that takes place in the “living faith World” (Winners chapel head-quarters) located in Idi-iroko, Out, Ogun State Nigeria and will shed more light on those who are religiously inclined and also examine and show the religious practices which have attracted people as part of tourism.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Tourism: The relationship of phenomenon arising from voluntary travel and stay of an individual away from his/ her usual place of residence to a pre-determined destination in search of pleasure, leisure etc and are not connected with any remunerated activity.
Tourist: This is an individual that is involved in tourism activities. According to MCINTOSH and Gupta (1999).
Visitor: Is someone travelling from his place of usual residence to another place, but not primarily for tourism activities but enjoys such activities during his stay. (Unesco definition of tourism 2001).
Tourist Attractions: These are the physical and natural images or activities that motivates people (tourists) for visit.
Tourist Destinations: These refer to the places where the tourist attractions are located or sited.
Religion: These are set of rules that are taught which govern one to follow and to worship his/ her creator spiritually.
Hotel (Hospitality Industry): Is an establishment that renders the services of food and drinks, accommodation to people (tourists) who are willing and able to pay for the services rendered to them by the establishment.
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