Posted by / Friday 25 May 2018 / No comments

Tourist attractions and their locations

Definition of tourist attraction
According to the Cambridge dictionary, a tourist attraction is a place that people visit for pleasure and interest, usually while they are on holiday.

Wikipedia defines a tourist attraction as a place of interest where tourists visit, typically for its inherent or exhibited natural or cultural value, historical significance, natural or built beauty, offering leisure and amusement.

From the above two definitions, one can safely say a tourist attraction is a place of historical, cultural and natural importance which people visit to amuse themselves when they have free moments, mostly when they are on holidays.

Tourist attractions are categorized into three major groups. Some are natural attractions like national parks, scenic features, beaches, coasts, landforms, etc., some are man-made like monuments, museums, palaces, etc. and others are socio-cultural like historical monuments, festivals, carnivals and sporting activities.

National parks
National park refers to a government demarcated area with the purpose of conserving the land and or animals. The purpose is to preserve the environment but people are allowed to visit the parks for recreation and for pleasure. Many countries like the United States of America, Canada, Britain, Japan and Nigeria, to mention but a few have set aside National Parks to conserve the environment and nature’s fauna and flora. This gives memorable experience to those who visit the parks. According to the National Geographic, over 331 million visitors visited the top ten National Parks in 2017.

One example of a National Park is the Yosemite National Park which is situated in California. In Nigeria, we have the Yankari National Park and the Old Oyo National Park.

A beach can be described as a sandy stretch of land made of particles of sand, gravel, shingle, pebbles and or cobblestones along the coast of the Sea. Well-kept beaches serve as places of recreation and leisure for people on holidays or who have a little free time to spare. In many countries in Europe and America, the beaches are kept very clean and serve as places of relaxation and leisure activities. In other areas, such as a few African countries, the beaches are not kept well and therefore cannot be seen as tourist attraction. The Golden Mile in Durban, South Africa is a few of the exceptions. The beach front is always kept clean with several daily recreational activities.

Wherever there is no water covering the earth’s surface can be referred to as land and it is estimated that 30% of the earth’s surface is land. Any natural geographic characteristic of land, it may be a valley, a mountain, a hill, a desert or a plateau, is called a land form. One would realize that some of these land forms are covered by vegetation like some hills and valleys but there are others too that are not covered by vegetation at all like the deserts and some too that are sparsely covered by vegetation. These land forms serve as great tourist attraction for visitors to a country.

According to the Cambridge dictionary, a waterfall is “water, especially from a river or stream, dropping from a higher to a lower point, sometimes from a great height.” The National Geographic also defines a waterfall as “…a river or other bodies of water’s steep fall over a rocky ledge into a plunge pool below.”

So a waterfall can be described as a body of water that flows from a height and falls or cascades into a dearth below, usually forming a pool where it falls before meandering its way away depending on the landform of the area.

Waterfalls are great tourist attractions everywhere in the world. In Nigeria, examples of waterfalls include, but are not limited to, Erin-Ijesha Waterfall, Farin Ruwa Waterfall, Gurara waterfall, Awhum Waterfall, Owu Waterfall, and Assop waterfall.

A monument can be a statue, a historical building or any structure that has been constructed by a government, a religious group, or even an individual in remembrance of a very important personality or a notable event. It could also be an archaeological site, for example.
Monuments are very important tourist attractions. Many people visiting New York may want to view the Statue of Liberty or the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. In Nigeria, mention can be made of Arometa or the three White Cap chiefs in Lagos State and the Kano City walls. All these form tourist attractions.

A museum is a place where artifacts and other articles of artistic, cultural, historical, ancient or scientific value are kept. Museums are housed in buildings and the artifacts and objects stored there are exhibited to the general public. Museums are opened to both local and international tourists and therefore also serve as tourist attractions of great importance.

A palace is mostly a building that houses royalty, heads of state or other state or royal officials of high ranking and reputation. It is usually a massive building with very unique architecture. It is the official home of the royalty or the dignity. There are several examples of palaces, like the Buckingham Palace in London, the Royal Palace of Madrid, etc. In Nigeria, there are several royals and their palaces are a thing to view.

Forts and Castles
Forts and castles refer to the structures erected by former colonial masters along the coasts of their colonies for residential, administrative, storage and incarceration purposes. This was to aid the protection of their lives, property and colonial interests. Some of the colonial masters who either built or owned castles and forts along the coasts of West Africa are the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. After the colonialists had left, these forts and castles were turned into administrative centres or museums where visitors flocked every day to view and learn more about their country’s past. One of the most visited castles in Ghana is the Cape Coast and Elmina castles. There are other castles that are not ancient, but were built by very rich people as a modern architectural edifice. One example is the one built by a German eccentric and visionary in Nigeria called the Kajuru Castle. All these and other castles serve as tourist attractions in countries of visitation.

A festival is a day that people celebrate. Festival are celebrated for reasons. It could be a religious festival in which case, all kinds of ceremonies and rituals are performed. It could be to commemorate the achievements of a community hero, to herald the end of a farming season and the beginning of a new one. It could also be to usher in a new fishing season. Examples of festivals in Nigeria include the Argungu International Festival, the Oshogbo International Festival and the New Yam Festival. These festivals serve as a very important occasion on the tourist calendar of Nigeria.

A carnival is originally a festival celebrated during the week of Lent in countries that are predominantly catholic. It involved processions, dance and music. Participants usually used masquerades. Today, there are several carnivals in the world and it serves as a source of tourist attraction for both citizens and foreigners.

In Nigeria, there are several carnivals that have become world tourist attractions, the Calabar Carnival being an example. The Calabar Carnival Festival is a home grown festival. Also referred to as “Africa’s biggest street party”, it was meant to attract tourists from all over Nigeria and the world and possibly make it the topmost tourist destination for Nigeria and all the word. Other carnivals in Nigeria include Carniriv. It is a free fair that is held for seven days with food, fashion, tradition and lifestyle all melted in one pot. Another is the Ogwashi-Uku. It is celebrated from 24 to 26th December every year. Activities include, cultural dance, float, dinner parties, fashion shows, to mention just a few.

Sports festivals
A sports festival can be described as the setting  aside of a period for sports men and women to compete in various disciplines of sports including but not limited to, volleyball, basketball, boxing, athletics, male and female soccer, judo and taekwondo. Such festivals are national or international in character. In countries where such sports festivals have become annual in character, it has become a tourist attraction to tourists. In Nigeria, the federal government instituted a biennial National Sports Festival, involving different sports in 1973 as a unifying factor after the bitter Civil War which ended in 1970. In Ghana, a National Sports Festival is held every year hosted by different cities. The last one was held in Kumasi, the second largest city in 2017.

1. a. What is a tourist attraction?
    b. Highlight six different tourist attractions in your country.

The characteristics of tourism products
The components of tourism

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