Attitudes of local residents towards sustainable ecotourism development in Olumirin Waterfall Southwestern Nigeria
This paper investigates indigenous communities’ attitudes towards sustainable ecotourism development in Olumirin Waterfall Southwestern Nigeria. A field survey via structured questionnaire was conducted on 150 village respondents living in the vicinity of Olumirin waterfall of which fifty questionnaires were randomly distributed to each of the three communities that were purposively selected. This is also complemented by observation during field survey. The data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Result showed that awareness and knowledge of ecotourism was high in the communities. Majority (94%) of the sampled population have positive attitude towards ecotourism activities in Olumirin waterfall, exhibit great appreciation of the existence of the waterfall and are interested in the continuity of the site as ecotourism attraction. Negative attitude have a minority perspective as tourists activities was not devoid of problems such as pollution, overcrowding and cultural diffusion. Gender (χ2=14.11, p<0.05), Education ((χ2=32.87, p<0.05), and occupation ((χ2=64.4, p<0.05), were significantly related to respondents perception of ecotourism development in Olumirin waterfall. Responses for positive attitude are larger as compared to the negative attitudes in the study site because the contribution of ecotourism activities towards economic enhancement of the rural people is high. However, effective regulation and proper planning is essential in order to enhance the sustainability of ecotourism in Olumirin waterfall while local people’s active involvement at different level of ecotourism development is vital in ensuring its success.
Key Words: Local communities, waterfall, awareness, attitude, involvement, ecotourism