EVALUATING THE BENEFITS OF THE HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM INDUSTRY ON THE SOCIO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN ONICHA-UGBO TOWN)
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Tourism is a rapidly growing phenomenon and has become one of the largest industries in the world. The impact of tourism varies extremely. On one hand, it plays an important and certainly positive role in the socio economic and political development in destination countries by, for instance, offering new employment opportunities. Also, in certain instances, it may contribute to a broader cultural and understanding by creating awareness, respecting the diversity of cultures and ways of life. On the other hand, it is a tool to create jobs. Tourism has been a major driver of socio-economic development in Western society; it is an alternative strategy for sustainability and diversification of economy for important policy of a good government.
Perception is a mental process in which an individual chooses, organizes and interprets a stimulant as a mean-ngful and distinctive picture of the world (Awaritefe, 2003). Studies such as Awaritefe (2004) related to environmental perception, image and preferences in tourism differ in terms of scale. Tourism literature such as Awaritefe (2017) argues that the mental images of actual tourists and potential tourists concerning resorts are crucial in their decision-making process. He added that tourism and recreational development in Nigeria is faced with serious challenges and setbacks.
In recent times, tourism is one of the largest industries that have contributed to the socio-economic growth of many countries especially countries where tourism is the mainstay of her economy, World Tourism Organization (WTO, 1998; cited in Ejaetal, 2012 and Ojo, 2014). Despite the fact that that industry is a vehicle for promoting cultural exchange that enhances international understanding and goodwill among the diverse peoples of the world, it is also a catalyst for enhancing many country destination employment opportunities, foreign exchange and infrastructural facilities (ESCAP, 2002; cited in Eja, et al, 2012).