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It’s a new dawn for tourism in Fako –George M. Luma, Divisional Delegate of Tourism, Fako

5 September 2017 No Comment

Divisional Delegate of Tourism George Musonge

By Benjamin Et-Nchenge
The Divisional Delegate of Tourism and Leisure in Fako, George Musonge Luma, has said that it’s a new dawn for the tourism sector in Fako Division as no efforts would be spared in ensuring that the issue of tourism data is put onto the first burner.
Mr. Luma made this declaration in an exclusive chat with The Star recently at his Limbe office at the Ministry’s Divisional Delegation in Fako.
As Divisional Delegate, he said the bane of the tourism industry and the lack of attention from some concerned stakeholders is a fall-out from dearth of data to prove that tourism contributes so much to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to him: “There are enough physical evidences available in Fako to prove beyond any doubts that tourism is a sector that should be taken seriously because of the numbers of hospitality businesses across the Division. People work in those hotels, suppliers deliver daily to the restaurants, the banks receive deposits from sales daily, and [most] importantly, taxes are paid to government at all levels monthly.”
While Luma’s position is nothing but a welcome development and relief to many industry analysts, some, however, have to be pushed beyond their limit to get going with the task of providing the much-needed tourism data for government to plan and have reason to believe in the sector.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), tourism has experienced continued growth and deepening ‎diversification to become one of the fastest-growing economic sectors in the world. ‎Modern tourism is closely linked to development, and encompasses a growing number ‎of new destinations, and has turned into a key driver for socio-‎economic progress in many countries.
Today, the business volume of tourism equals or even surpasses that of oil exports, and has become one of the major players in ‎international commerce, and represents at the same time one of the main income sources for today’s Cameroon. This growth goes hand in hand with ‎increasing diversification and competition among destinations.
This global spread of tourism in industrialized societies has produced economic and employment benefits in many related sectors – from construction to agriculture or tele-communications; the contribution of tourism to economic well-being depends on the quality and the revenues of the tourism offer. However, in an economy less diversified, and which had over the decades depended on a mono product economy like oil, very little attention is given to tourism in Cameroon.
Many blame the failure of the private sector to achieve the aforementioned due to unavailability of data from the practitioners and not the relevant government agencies.
The Divisional Delegation of Tourism, in Fako only last week had an enlarged assembly with proprietors of furnished apartments wherein the latter learnt that the Divisional Delegation of Tourism and Leisure in Fako today, is having for the very first time, leadership that is knowledge driven and, unlike in the past, its association with public officers is less paramount to them than actual issues of tourism.
In the gathering of experts in the travel & hospitality industry, tourism as a tool in diversifying the Cameroonian economy received the most attention and provoked lots of intellectual comments. This is not surprising at all considering the huge potential that this particular sector possesses.
The decision to grow tourism into a consistent and sustainable means of income by the Divisional Delegation and to make it appealing to inbound and outbound tourists was not arbitrary, but rather deliberate and planned. Without a doubt, other such Divisional Delegations will be amazed to see the attendant economic implications this sector has birth.
“We can achieve this feat or even better than the others nationwide. We have an advantage: Bimbia slave trade port, now a UNESCO heritage; Mile Six Beach; and of course the tourist site like the Bojongo Catholic Church. In fact, if we can sell tourism to only Cameroonians to a point where they can see the value proposition, it might become optional to sell to foreign tourists.”
It’s very heart-warming to see that the government of the day is now tilting its focus towards expanding and developing other sectors that can ultimately support our mainstay. The comments of the Divisional Delegate of Tourism and Leisure, Mr. George Musonge Luma, reassured all in attendance that tourism has now become a focal point for the government. According to the Divisional Delegate, policies at all levels have now been put in place to engender tourism growth. For instance, the Ministry’s broad–based focus on Tourism has been resuscitated. This is to engender the rapid development of the sector through policy directions. The relevant committee will see to the implementation of the tourism roadmap and other main key issues.
Something very interesting that the Divisional Delegate hinted on is his intent on partnering with proprietors of furnished apartments to make Fako much more attractive to tourists come the 2019 football competition at continental level. The objective of the partnership is to leverage on furnished apartments to promote tourism in Fako. He described the move as a very strong and effective partnership – to use comparative advantage in these outfits through quality services – to promote tourism in Fako Division. Although this is the first-of-its-kind partnership, the Divisional Delegate believes that this will push tourism from the back-burner to the mainstream of our economy. Promoting tourism through quality services of furnished apartments is by far a great idea, considering it is one of our biggest exports to the rest of the world. So, there is no doubt that if well implemented and monitored, the impact will be great.
To make tourism profitable in Cameroon, there is a need for collaboration between the private sector and the government. The Divisional Delegate couldn’t have emphasized this more. In fact, government is only involved at the initial stage of any tourism programme. For sustenance and continuity, it is to be private sector led.
“Lastly, fellow Cameroonians, we too have a lot to do in consolidating the efforts of government in pushing the frontier of our tourism industry forward. Our major role should include representing and speaking well of Cameroon. This appears to be our greatest problem. We should stop running down our country especially those in Diaspora. If we continue, foreigners – as much as we do not want to rely on their patronage – will be dissuaded from coming to visit our tourism sites. It’s crucial we start speaking well of our country,” Musonge Luma concluded.

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