Challenges facing customer patronage of tourism destinations in South-South Region of Nigeria
AbstractThis study aimed at investigating the most significant challenge facing customer patronage of tourism destinations in South-South region of Nigeria. To achieve this purpose, the challenges facing tourism destinations as a whole were examined. In this study, the survey research design was adopted and the population of the study consisted of tourism destinations in South-South region of Nigeria. Although there are two categories of tourism destination - recreation/attractions and hospitality, this study focused on the recreation/attractions centres. Records available to the researchers from the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism, revealed a total of thirty-five (35) tourism destinations (recreation / attraction centres) in South-South region of Nigeria. Our findings revealed the following challenges facing customer patronage of tourism destinations in South-South region of Nigeria - unqualified and untrained hospitality manpower, poor facility esthetics of the destination, poor consumer purchasing power, political instability and violence, high rate of crime against humanity, deplorable road network, poor supply of electricity, unsafe airspace, inefficient telecommunication and internet services, poor facility aesthetics of the destination, national insecurity, multiplicity of levies and taxes, and high operational costs. However, the most significant of these factors is lack of consumers’ interest in recreation and leisure. It was therefore recommended that managers of tourism destinations should develop visual appeals of their destinations by exhibiting decent exterior painting and manicured landscape that would capture the attention of prospective customers. More so, the government should create an enabling environment for tourism destinations to thrive. This can be done by ensuring stability in the political environment, adequate protection of lives and property, safety of the airspace, provision of good road network; adequate supply of electricity, and other basic infrastructure, avoidance of multiple levies and taxes of operators in the hospitality market, and the maintenance of recreation and attraction centres in South-South region of Nigeria.
Keywords: Challenges, customer patronage, tourism destinations, south-south region
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