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Introduction                                                     

1.1.           
Background to the study

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Tourism
essentially entails the movement of people (called tourists or visitors), from
their routine places of work and residence to another (called a tourist
destination), for the purposes of business, leisure and personal motives. The
activities they participate in during their stay in the destination, the type
of facilities and available services to provide for their needs, and for which
the length of stay in the destination does not go beyond one year (UNWTO, 2014).

Tourism
contribution in the cultural, economic and social wellbeing of a nation was
formally articulated during the Manila Statement in October 1980, where tourism
was recognized as a tool that can help eliminate the widening economic
disparities between industrialised and developing states (UNWTO, 1980).
For many economies in both the industrialised and developing nations, tourism is
a powerful tool for strong economic performance, creating jobs and bringing
about significant economic growth (WTTC, 2017).

Matias, et al (2016) states that tourism produces a substantial
amount of revenue, through income spent by visitors in the demand for tourists’
facilities and services such as accommodation, food and drink, transportation,
tours, entertainment services, excursions, air tickets, currency exchange, and
a host of other assorted services. About twenty economies, mostly island
countries, centred
on tourism as the most prominent source of revenue. Seychelles and Maldives,
are examples of the nations that strongly depend on tourism for economic
expansion (Lizzie, 2016).

A
publication from the World Bank Group by Christie, et al (2014) show that African countries are endowed
with important tourism potential which if well harnessed and managed, would
substantially add to the innovation and dramatic transformation of African
economies. Tourism can contribute to significant economic growth, by prompting
the provision of infrastructure, the creation of employment, increasing
domestic spending, stimulating tourism-related investment, fuels the
endorsement of national heritage, and raises environmental preservation.

Tourism
is now considered to be a key pillar in the strategic framework for sustainable
and inclusive growth in Africa. It can produce significant positive spillovers
and positive externalities, which can energise the economy and foster growth
(UNCTAD, 2016).

According to World
Economic Forum (2015), tourism contributes to approximately 9% of
Africa’s domestic product, while the sector has been forecasted to grow by
almost 5% in the next few years. Additionally, the OSSA (2016) reported that the African tourism sector is expanding
gradually. The continent now claims approximately 5% of the number of global
visitors and 3% of all tourism receipts. In 2014, the travel and tourism GDP
for Africa was up to $83 billion. The tourism sector employs approximately nine
million people, causing it to be one of the most prominent sectors for
employment in the continent. 

During
the last 10 years, there had been gradual increase to the total number of
visitors to Cameroon. In year 2006, tourists in Cameroon amounted to 451.000,
with a constant increase in the number of visitors in following years of
822.000 in 2014 (World Bank,
2017).

World
Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) tourism report for Cameroon, from 2007 to
2016, shows a progressive increase in tourism’s share of Cameroon’s GDP. Thus,
this suggests a correlation between increase in the proportion of Cameroon’s
GDP produced by tourism and number of tourists.

The WTTC 2017 report on ‘the
Economic impact of travel and tourism in Cameroon, indicate that in 2017, the
direct contribution of visitor exports amounted to 12.4 percent of total
exports in 2016 and it is suspected to rise by 3.7 % and increase by 5.2 %
yearly from 2017-2027. Tourism and Tourism Investment in 2016 was 3.9 percent
of the total investment and expected rise by 3.8 % in 2017. Also, 3.8 % yearly
for the next 10years for a total of 2.2 % (WTTC, 2017).

1.2  Problem statement

As per the
standards of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), there is a direct
relationship between income spent by tourists, and the proportion of tourism’s
contribution to a country’s GDP.

During the
last ten years, Cameroon has experienced a progressive increase in the number
of tourists (world bank, 2017).
There had also being a noticeable increase in the proportion of Cameroon’s GDP
generated by tourism, alongside this increase in the number of tourists to the
country. Though there appear to be a positive correlation between the number of
tourists and tourism-generated GDP, very scanty of studies have been conducted
to establish the exact nature of this relationship. Also, previous literatures
on tourism in Cameroon made little or no effort to find out whether tourism has
long-run relationship with the GDP of Cameroon. This is important because
understanding the exact nature of the relationship between tourism and GDP is
vital as it enables a country to fine-tune its tourism development and
marketing strategies, in a way that is carefully adapted to meet tourism and
economic objectives of the nation. For example, based on its revenue
objectives, a government can decide whether to attract many low-spending
tourists, or a small number of high-spending tourists. It is therefore the plan
of this research to empirically investigate the impact of tourism on the GDP of
Cameroon, while controlling for other variables.

1.3 
Research
objectives

The objectives of this research work
are:

·        
To
investigate whether tourism has significant impact on the real GDP of Cameroon.

·        
To
examine whether there is any long-run relationship between tourism and real GDP
of Cameroon.

This paper is further organized as
follows: section two provides literature review on the impacts of tourism on
GDP. Section three deals with the methodology employed to model tourism impact
in Cameroon. Section four follows with Data analysis and results discussion,
while section five gives summary and conclusion.

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