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CAMEROON: Need to Boost Internally Generated Revenue

19 September 2017 No Comment

By Benjamin Et-Nchenge

Indeed, across the globe, tourism has become very important that today it is a major source of income for many countries as it affects the economy of both the source and host countries. The economic potential of tourism is remarkable, with direct and indirect impact on employment. Similarly, it is a good public relations mechanism through which a city, state or country could attract needed foreign investments. According to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index report of 2016 based on air traffic, Bangkok in Thailand tops the table of top ten most popular destinations of international tourism with 21.47 million tourists. Cities like, London, Paris, Dubai and New York City are also top tourists’ destinations.
Although Africa accounts for 15% of the world population and some of the fastest growing economies are domiciled in the continent, but still the potential of Africa’s tourism remains untapped as it receives only about 3% of world tourism. And while tremendous opportunities exist to further expand tourism across the continent as expected revenues that would be accrued from this sector can make up for double the amount of donor aids received from developed countries or international organizations.
However, lots of challenges are still militating against these. These challenges include good road networks, transportation, visa procurement and better airline connections.
But despite the aforementioned challenges, some African countries are fast becoming known as tourist destinations. Countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt and South Africa, known for their rich and economically viable sites are making waves and creating new era in tourism as well as contributing to each country’s national revenue annually. The Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is known as Africa’s greatest wildlife reserve as the region is home to lots of African lions, 570 species of birds, 95 species of mammals and more than 2 million wild beasts, Zebra and Thomson’s Gazelle annual migration.
And while Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania places the country among nations with exceptional travel attractions in the African continent, Egypt is known for the Pyramids and Sphinx, The Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world and one of the seven wonders of the world is found between Zambia and Zimbabwe; Cape Town, is one of the most beautiful cities in South Africa and is home to the world renowned Robben Island, the prison where the late South African president, Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years and a host of other tourist attractions.
However, in Cameroon, tourism is still in its infancy considering the large accumulation of resources which are yet untapped and the institutional structure which is yet to be regulated to compete favorably with other fast growing international and continental tourism destinations. This is largely due to years of the oil boom and over dependent on the revenue from the sale of crude oil for actualization of plans and projects of successive administrations in the country. So, putting it succinctly, the country operates a mono economy.
Consequently, the recent crash in crude oil prices in the international markets has greatly affected the country’s economy as it can no longer meet up with most of its obligations as a nation, invariably plunging the nation into a period of economic recession as the meager revenue accrued from the sale of low priced crude oil can no longer sustain the economy.
Thus, the country has to explore other avenues to sustain the economy as well as provide necessary dividends of democracy for the citizens. One of such ways is through the development of the tourism sector which has been explored and still being explored by nations globally to generate the needed revenue to drive their economies.
Cameroon is replete with various tourists sites scattered all over the country as well as cultural festivals which mirror the lifestyles and heterogeneous nature of the people who occupy the space called Cameroon. In Far North, the Palaces of the Sultans of Kousseri, Logone Birmi, Goulfey, Wakari and Bogo besides the existence of the Waza National Park, the Kalamaloue National Park and the Koffia Islands. The La Vina Falls, the Tello Falls, the Kodini Falls, Lake Mbalang and Lake Tison and a lot of other sites and festivals are famous in the Adamawa Region. In the north West Region is the Lake awing, the Chiefdom of Bali, the of Bafut, the Palace of Laikom, the Fortress of Bamenda the craft Centre amongst othe attractions in other regions in the country,
But despite these enormous tourist potentials as well as governments’ efforts to put the tourism industry in the national economic map, the country cannot meet up with up with the exclusive listing. The aforementioned is due to lack of political will and legislation to regulate the industry to keep abreast with the United Nations framework on sustainable tourism development efforts.
Therefore, in an effort to put the country in the forefront of global tourism, and in a bid to generate the much needed foreign resources as well as improve the Internally Generated Revenue of Fako Division, the Divisional Delegation of Tourism and Leisure, Fako is highly committed to exploring the potentials inherent in the tourism sector. Being one of the fastest developing Divisions in the South West and boasting two soon–to-become-mega- cities, (Buea and Limbe), Fako offers a wide variety of tourists’ attractions, which include historical sites, extended and roomy river and ocean beaches ideal for relaxation and other water sports, cultural festivals as well as carnivals among others. Such sites include the legendary monument of the founder of Victoria, Alfred Saker – built by Missionaries at the time, in the 1800s.
Showcasing the history and culture of Fako is the renowned LIMBE FESTAC Festival. The annual event does not hold to expand to hold concurrently in any of Fako’s Divisions. It only enables fun seekers across the national triangle – Cameroon – to promote everything that is tradition.

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