The role of cultural tourism in the promotion of the south west destination: the case of limbe festival of arts and culture

COLUMN 16 Jan 2021
The role of cultural tourism in the promotion of the south west destination:  the case of limbe festival of arts and culture

INTRODUCTION:
Cultural Tourism has been defined as the movement of persons to cultural attractions away from their normal place of residence with the intention to gather new information and experiences to satisfy their cultural needs.
This form of Tourism is becoming more popular throughout the world especially with the growing quest for standard Tourists to deviate from the norm.
In urban areas, rare features like museums, theatres, etc. can constitute frequent attractions to Tourists; while in rural areas the traditions, values and lifestyles of the indigenous Cultural Communities serve as a “Pull Factor” for visiting Tourists.

LIMBE FESTAC AND CULTURAL TOURISM
Since its inception in 2014, the organizers of the Limbe festival of arts and culture strive to bring out the heterogeneous cultural Unity of Limbe Municipality to the limelight.
The peculiarity of the Festival lies in the fact that it does not only promote the cultural heritage of the indigenous Bakweri, Isubu and Bota-land People of the Coastal area but that of all the cultural forces living in the township of Limbe several ways namely:
– The Festival acts as a unifying fac tor, because in it there is no discrim ination between Cameroonian.
– It also helps to preserve the cultural values of the people of Cameroon as the younger Generation are given the opportunity to participate and trace their roots.
– It also gives all the Cameroonian living in LIMBE a cultural platform to appreciate the life-style of others, in order to better practice the phenomenon of “Living -Together”.
The cultural jamboree
The Supervisory organ of the Festival is called “The steering Committee” which is headed by the Government Delegate to the Limbe City Council.
To assist him achieve his task, are about 16 other Sub-Committees that work with technical services at the Regional and Divisional levels in the South West Region.
To get all on board, and also facilitate the effective coordination of participants, the Programe is divided into 05 Cultural Groupings namely:
• The Grand North (Adamawa, North, And Far- North)
• The Grand West (North-West, And West)
• The Center, South and East
• Littoral/ South West
These Groupings are allocated special days to show -case their culture through the following aspects:
 Dance/music
 Attire
 Gastronomy etc.etc.
A well published calendar is made available using the media to give room for the Public to participate widely.
Worthy of note is also the fact that foreign communities that settled in Limbe are also given the opportunity to showcase their cultural Prowess E.g. (Nigerian Community, Benin Community, Ghanaians etc.)

Limbe FESTAC and Heritage Tourism
In addition to exposing cultural values through Songs and Dance; the participants are given the opportunity to re-visit the slave Trade Drama by carrying out a trip to the Historic Bimbia Slave Trade Site in Limbe III Council, in the East Coast of Limbe.
The Tourism sub-committee that is charged with the organization of Leisure activities during the One-Week Celebration; has always included this visit to the Monumental Slave Trade Site for various reasons:
i) Bimbia Slave Trade Site is a Tourist Site of National category (pending recognition by UNESCO) as a world Heritage Site. Hence its promotion and valorization through such events is of great importance.
ii) The involvement of the Local Community in such arrangements gives them a sense of belonging. It also helps to promote sustainable Tourism where all the benefits from such visits trickle down to the villages as well.

Bimbia: A boost to the Limbe tourism image
Heritage Tourism could be defined as the act of traveling to other Places in order to appreciate the significance of other sites, artifacts, and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past.
This is exactly what “Bimbia” symbolizes not only to the people of the South West Region, but Cameroon as a whole.
In order to relive the stories of the past, the Limbe III Council created a Theater Group with actors drawn from the Limbe Municipality. Their role was to re-enact the memories of the Slave Trade story during important events like the Limbe Festival of Arts and Culture.
From their performance, several themes could be deduced as consequences of this banal act namely;
 The Destruction of village life.
 The Power of materialism.
 The Short sightedness of Local Chiefs.
 The Diversity of captives (Slaves) etc.
The above re-enactments made the story of Bimbia not only real but true-to-life.
The Tourists, visitors and guests always find reasons to visit Bimbia because of the credibility of the story and authenticity of the Site.
Benefits of cultural tourism
Generally, Tourism is important because:
– It creates jobs, new businesses and opportunities etc
– It protects natural and cultural resources which help to improve on the quality of life.
On it part, Cultural Tourism is important for various reasons:
• It has a positive economic and social impact on a host Destination.
• It establishes and reinforces identity
• It helps to build the image of a Destination.
• It helps preserve the Cultural and Historical heritage of a people.
• Through Culture, it facilitates harmony, living together and understanding amongst people.

Conclusion:
With the above analysis on the Benefits of Cultural Tourism, it is evident that the advantages of “Limbe Festival of Arts and Culture” can not be limited to the South West Region only.it is a mega -event that helps promote Cameroon as a safe and credible Tourists Destination

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