Cultural Tourism: A Sustainable Development Strategy for Nigeria’s Rural Area
Without cultural heritage, there would not be any tourism. One’s future depends on the others, (Sanusi, 2002). Regions, and settlement in Nigeria do not only serve as centers of production and consumption, they also epitomize and synthesized the cultures of their residents. A survey carried out in some rural communities revealed that these cultures are rooted essentially in the history of each community, but is disheartening to note that as the rural communities are aging, these cultural heritages and crafts also suffers either partial or total neglect and abandonment. A survey carried out in some rural communities in the Ekiti Local Government area of Kwara State revealed that, as richly blessed as these communities are in terms of cultural tourism resources endowment, physical and socio-economic development is almost stagnant due to neglect or non-exploration of the various distinctive and unique resource embedded in their domain. Further findings revealed that as a sustainable economic development tool in Nigeria, heritage features have economic values that can sufficiently contribute to economic revitalization, especially in the rural areas if effectively developed and marketed. Since tourism, exposes, develops and market culture of the people, the paper thus recommends an holistic approach to cultural heritage conservation in Nigeria rural areas to include comprehensive cultural plan, packaging and exposition, partnership of stakeholders all providing an inclusive and integrated approach to cultural heritage development through tourism.