Albert Kimbu

Dr Albert Kimbu


Senior Lecturer
PhD, MA, BA
+44 (0)1483 689010
07 AP 02
Mondays and Wednesdays: 11:00am - 12:30pm

Biography

Areas of specialism

Development and social entrepreneurship; stakeholder networks; sustainability and inclusive development in hospitality and tourism.

University roles and responsibilities

  • Member of University Ethics Committee
  • Pathway Lead for ESRC DTP Development Studies Pathway
  • Director of Postgraduate Research SHTM

Previous roles

30 June 2015 - 01 August 2017
Programme Leader, BSc International Tourism Management
01 October 2015 - 30 September 2017
Early Career Researcher (ECR) Representative for SHTM
01 October 2013 - 30 September 2015
Academic Integrity Officer SHTM
01 October 2011 - 30 June 2013
Programme Leader, BSc International Tourism Management at Surrey International Institute – DUFE (China)

Affiliations and memberships

Higher Education Academy
Fellow
Royal Geographical Society
Fellow
Tourism Concern
Trustee

Business, industry and community links

ABTA
SHTM liaison with ABTA

Research

Research interests

Research projects

Supervision

Postgraduate research supervision

Postgraduate research supervision

My publications

Publications

Ngoasong MZ (2015) Women as social entrepreneurs in the hospitality and tourism industry: Does (dis)empowerment play a role?, Proceedings of the International Critical Tourism Studies Conference V. 10 years CTS: Reflections on the road less travelled & the journey ahead: pp. 71-71
This paper (which is a work in progress) presents a qualitative study exploring the nature, motivations and extent to which female entrepreneurs use their H&T businesses as platforms for engagement in various forms of social entrepreneurship (SE) leading to value creation, economic and community development. Although SE is seen as a key contributor to the creation and diversification of entrepreneurial activity, women empowerment and local economic development, there is limited research on the role of female H&T entrepreneurs in emerging non-western destinations. We focus on two research questions: 1) In what ways can female entrepreneurs in H&T be considered as social entrepreneurs and how does the structure and organization of society shape the nature of female participation in SE? 2) What are the challenges involved in mobilizing female entrepreneurs into a system that allows for effective engagement in H&T ventures with SE as the key guiding philosophy for maximising value creation, and meaningfully higher level of satisfaction for all participants? Concepts from women-owned H&T enterprises, SE and women empowerment are drawn upon. We argue that women are embedded in male-dominated traditions/customs, community associations and government bureaucracies that may either empowered or dis-empower them. Using the case of Cameroon, we examine how embeddedness enhances the capacity of women to engage in SE in the H&T industry, thereby contributing to local economic development. Empirically we adopt a mixed methods approach using multiple case studies: survey questionnaire, focus groups and in-depth interviews with selected female providers and beneficiaries of social enterprise ventures. The findings clarify the role of women in SE in H&T and policy implications for maximising social value creation through the participation of women in SE. Key Words: Social entrepreneurship, women empowerment, embeddedness, women-owned hospitality and tourism businesses
Issues of tourist safety and risk are as engrossing as they are weighty when tourism destination image, promotion and marketing are concerned. Consequently, how regions burdened with political instability and civil strife and those located close by but relatively stable deal with negative images become very important issues and challenges because the ramifications can be difficult and expensive to recover from. Being the first of its kind to be conducted in the biodiversity rich but essentially politically volatile Central African sub-region, this chapter considers the findings of a series of in-depth interviews with private and public sector tourism industry stakeholders in Cameroon and from tourists before and after visiting countries in the sub-region. The first half of the chapter examines the literature on political instability and its impact on destination image and tourism in general. It also provides an overview of the geopolitical situation and tourism development in Cameroon and other neighbouring countries. The second half is an analysis of primary data collected during fieldwork. The findings reveal the existence of two contrasting different pre and post-visit images of the sub-region held by tourists. These include the absence of a destination marketing strategy, no strategic tourism planning and management, and limited sub-regional cooperation amongst others. It concludes by proposing some strategic tourism promotion and marketing elements which have to be addressed by destination managers when formulating destination management strategies that would make destinations in Cameroon and the sub-region more appealing to a wider range of potential visitors.
This paper explores how informal microfinance institutions (IMFIs) support development-led tourism entrepreneurship through providing microcredit and development opportunities to small tourism firms (STFs), as well as undertaking communitarian projects and outreach activities that promote the business activities of STFs. Drawing on resilience and social capital as central concepts, the paper argues that the form of collective action found in IMFIs can be examined to understand their impact on development-led tourism entrepreneurship. Using Cameroon as a case study important policy challenges in destinations where regulatory constrains cause many STFs to become dependent on IMFIs as opposed to formal (regulated) financial institutions in development-led tourism are highlighted.
Kimbu AN (2011) Challenges to the development of a sustainable tourism policy: A network analysis of tourism stakeholder relationships in Cameroon, TSS Conference Book of Abstracts
Within the last decade, many developing countries have recognised and started adopting tourism as an important local economic development option especially in areas devoid of mineral resources but rich in cultural and natural biodiversity (Shackley, 2006; Sharpley & Telfer, 2002). Cameroon has been no exception. However, the relationships between the various stakeholders involved in the industry?s development and management has been fraught with challenges and contradictions. This paper examines how sustainable tourism whose main goal is to provide high-quality visitor experiences that can maximize the benefits to the destination stakeholders without compromising the destination?s environmental, social, and cultural integrity is framed and implemented in Cameroon. Achieving this goal obviously depends on the extent to which tourism destinations manage to integrate these major perspectives and diverse stakeholders in the policy formulation process. The paper therefore investigates the extent to which destination stakeholders initiate or influence sustainable tourism policy making in Cameroon. Firstly, stakeholder theory (Freeman et al., 2010, Mitchell et al., 1997; Freeman, 1984) is used to identify key destination stakeholders in sustainable tourism development and how their interests can be managed in formulating sustainable tourism policy. Secondly, (social) network theory is used to examine patterns of relationships among destination stakeholders (Scott et al., 2008; Carlsson 2000; Granovetter, 1985) and analyse the roles that tourism networks could play in enhancing the development of a sustainable tourism policy in Cameroon.
During the last decade, Sub-Saharan Africa has consistently posted the one of the highest tourism growth with rates at an average +6% p.a. between 2007 and 2010. However, not all countries have profited from this growth. Countries in the Central African sub-region, which even though recognised internationally as potential hotspots for sustainable ecotourism development are still lagging behind those located in Western, Eastern and Southern Africa. This paper identifies some challenges inhibiting the development and marketing tourism destinations in the Central African sub-region and Cameroon in particular and proposes some concise measures whose implementation would help in redressing the situation.
Kimbu AN (2012) Microfinance generation and tourism development in emerging destinations: Alternative mechanisms, Conference Proceedings
Rationale: It is now an accepted fact that many developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have realised the importance of tourism as a key local economic development strategy and are actively promoting and encouraging its development. However, the majority of the touristic sites in Central African countries and Cameroon in particular are nature related and located in remote and often inaccessible national parks and other protected sites with very limited hard and soft infrastructure (Kimbu, 2011a). In addition, the local communities often lack the knowledge and capital to successfully develop and manage these sites, some of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and MAB reserves. The few who have the necessary skills and are interested to go into the tourism sector are often plagued by the lack of investment or start-up capital (Kimbu, 2011b). This is primarily due to the fact that most government incentives are aimed at attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) from foreign tour operators rather than encouraging and promoting the creation and expansion of local (domestic) tourism enterprises and businesses which are predominantly micro, small and medium size enterprises (MSMEs) in many developing countries. This situation was no different in Cameroon where, more than 90% of travel, tourism and hospitality operations were MSMEs, more than 80% of which were family owned and managed (Kimbu, 2010). One of the principal challenges of these local tourism SMEs is therefore the lack of investment and/or start-up capital, access to credit facilities as well as little financial support from national, regional and local governments. The growth of micro-finance institutions (MFI) in many SSA countries during the last decade has greatly increased the accessibility of small businesses to financial services especially in terms of credits, savings and loan facilities (IFC, 2010). This has empowered many citizens who have capitalised on the new found opportunities and expanded or started up their own businesses thereby contributing to poverty alleviation and local economic development. However, because tourism is still a relatively ?young and unknown? industry in the countries of the Central African sub-region such as Cameroon (with its development only recently being prioritised), micro-finance institutions have been wary of providing financial services to potential start-up investors in the sector (Kimbu, 2010). As a result even though other economic sectors h
Kimbu AN (2011) Attainment of Millennium Development Goals through sustainable tourism in the Central African sub-region: Implications for local economic development in Cameroon, AHTMM Conference Proceedings pp. 736-742
This paper examines the role and contribution of tourism to local economic development and in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals of poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability in the biodiversity endowed Central African sub-region. The concept of local economic development is examined and through field observations and semi-structured interviews with tourism industry stakeholders in Cameroon, an analysis of tourism?s role and future in local economic development and in the attainment of these goals is undertaken. The core challenges presently inhibiting tourism?s development thereby limiting its contribution to economic development, poverty reduction and environmental conservation in Cameroon are identified and a framework within which tourism?s contribution can be increased is proposed.
Kimbu AN (2012) Attainment of MDGs through tourism in the Central African sub-region: Implications for local economic development in Cameroon., PASOS. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Heritage 10 (2) pp. 3-16
This paper examines the role and contribution of tourism to local economic development and in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals one and seven dealing with extreme poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability in the biodiversity endowed Central African sub-region. The concepts of sustainable tourism development and local economic development (in sub-Saharan Africa) are examined. Through field observations and semi-structured interviews with 21 tourism industry stakeholders in Cameroon, an analysis of tourism?s role and future in LED and in the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals 1 & 7 is undertaken. The core challenges presently inhibiting tourism?s development thereby limiting its contribution to local economic development and the attainment of these goals in Cameroon are identified and a framework within which tourism?s contribution can be increased is proposed.
Kimbu AN (2016) Cameroon, tourism, In: Jafari J, Xiao H (eds.), Encyclopaedia of Tourism Springer International Publishing
Kimbu NA (2015) Women as social entrepreneurs in the hospitality and tourism industry: Does (dis)empowerment play a role?, 10 Year CTS: Reflections on the road leass travelled and the journey ahead pp. 71-71
This paper which is a work in progress presents a qualitative study exploring the nature, motivations and extent to which female entrepreneurs use their H&T businesses as platforms for engagement in various forms of social entrepreneurship (SE) leading to value creation, economic and community development. Although SE is seen as a key contributor to the creation and diversification of entrepreneurial activity, women empowerment and local economic development, there is limited research on the role of female H&T entrepreneurs in emerging non-western destinations. We focus on two research questions: 1) In what ways can female entrepreneurs in H&T be considered as social entrepreneurs and how does the structure and organization of society shape the nature of female participation in SE? 2) What are the challenges involved in mobilizing female entrepreneurs into a system that allows for effective engagement in H&T ventures with SE as the key guiding philosophy for maximising value creation, and meaningfully higher level of satisfaction for all participants? Concepts from women-owned H&T enterprises, SE and women empowerment are drawn upon. We argue that women are embedded in male-dominated traditions/customs, community associations and government bureaucracies that may either empowered or dis-empower them. Using the case of Cameroon, we examine how embeddedness enhances the capacity of women to engage in SE in the H&T industry, thereby contributing to local economic development. Empirically we adopt a mixed methods approach using multiple case studies: survey questionnaire, focus groups and in-depth interviews with selected female providers and beneficiaries of social enterprise ventures. The findings clarify the role of women in SE in H&T and policy implications for maximising social value creation through the participation of women in SE. Key Words: Social entrepreneurship, women empowerment, embeddedness, women-owned hospitality and tourism businesses
Kimbu AN (2011) The role of transport and accommodation infrastructure in the development of eco/nature tourism in Cameroon, Tourism Analysis 16 (2) pp. 137-156
This article investigates the significance and importance of transport and other service or non-transport (accommodation) infrastructure as important factors in the development of Cameroon as a future competitive eco/nature tourism destination. Based on the results of primary data collected in Cameroon, the article examines and sheds light on the evolution in Cameroon's service infrastructure since independence in 1960 with particular emphasis on the transport and accommodation infrastructure into and within Cameroon's natural parks, reserves, and other tourist attractions. Through an analysis of a tourist satisfaction survey, field observations, and discussions with tour operators, the article points out the sensitivity of tourists visiting the country to the service infrastructure especially with regards to the transport and accommodation infrastructure and how these services impacted on their general holiday experience and the image it portrays of Cameroon?an eco/nature tourism holiday destination. It also examines the current state of the transport system and infrastructure both into and within the country as well as its accommodation infrastructure, and in the process highlights shortcomings that are to be found in Cameroon's transport and other service infrastructure. The concluding section of the article proposes a way forward in alleviating some of the concerns raised after analyzing data from the survey, discussions, and field observation. Recommendations that should be taken into consideration by all stakeholders responsible for the conception, development, and implementation of policies dealing with transport, accommodation, and other service infrastructure to and within sites that attract tourists, nature lovers in particular, and Cameroon in general, thereby enhancing the image of the country as a favorable eco/nature tourism destination are proposed.
Kimbu AN (2010) The non-prioritization of the tourism industry and its impacts on tourism R&D and management in the Central African sub-region,
Kimbu AN, Ngoasong MZ (2015) Women as social entrepreneurs in the hospitality and tourism industry: Does (dis)empowerment play a role?, 10 years CTS: Reflections on the road less travelled and the journey ahead pp. 71-71
This paper which is a work in progress presents a qualitative study exploring the nature, motivations and extent to which female entrepreneurs use their H&T businesses as platforms for engagement in various forms of social entrepreneurship (SE) leading to value creation, economic and community development. Although SE is seen as a key contributor to the creation and diversification of entrepreneurial activity, women empowerment and local economic development, there is limited research on the role of female H&T entrepreneurs in emerging non-western destinations. We focus on the following research questions: a) Can female entrepreneurs in H&T be considered as social entrepreneurs? b) How does the structure and organization of society shape the nature of female participation in SE? c) What are the challenges involved in mobilizing female entrepreneurs to effectively engage in SE? d) How does SE maximise value creation and higher levels of satisfaction for all participants? Concepts from women-owned H&T enterprises, SE and women empowerment are drawn upon. We argue that women are embedded in male-dominated traditions/customs, community associations and government bureaucracies that may either empowered or dis-empower them. Using the case of Cameroon, we examine how embeddedness enhances the capacity of women to engage in SE in the H&T industry, thereby contributing to local economic development. Empirically we adopt a mixed methods approach using multiple case studies: a survey questionnaire, five focus groups meetings (two women-only, one male-only, and two mix of male and female entrepreneurs) and twenty-five in-depth interviews with selected female entrepreneurs (18), (non)governmental organisations (03) and beneficiaries (04) of social enterprise ventures between May 2014 and February 2015. The findings clarify the role of women in SE in H&T and policy implications for maximising social value creation through the participation of women in SE.
While there is increasing recognition of the positive impacts of tourism on economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa, existing relationships between tourism industry stakeholders is fraught with challenges that constrain its development. Drawing on social network theory and stakeholder theory and through a series of key informant semi-structured interviews with tourism industry stakeholders, the paper explores the nature of participation by destination stakeholders in formulating and implementing tourism policy in Cameroon. It then explores a model of tourism development built around a centrally coordinated but decentralized tourism network that reaches out to all representative stakeholders when formulating and implementing tourism policies. The challenges involved in mobilizing destination stakeholders into such a system to allow for effective tourism development are critically examined.
Kimbu AN (2009) The challenges of marketing tourism destinations in the Central African sub-region: The Cameroon example, ATMC Conference Proceedings
Kimbu AN (2014) Women, social entrepreneurship and tourism development in sub-Saharan Africa,
Drawing on the literature examining women in the tourism sector and social entrepreneurship, this article critically explores a theoretical framework for analyzing the role of women owner-managers of small tourism firms (STFs) as social entrepreneurs. Through a qualitative analysis of owner-managers of STFs, the article provides evidence of how women integrate social transformational and commercial goals in their business strategies, while serving defined communities around the tourism sector. By critically examining the operationalization of these goals and community needs, the development impacts of women-owned STFs and opportunities for women social entrepreneurship in the tourism sector are identified and discussed.
Indubitably, an eclectic body of academic literature exists on backpacking dating back from the start of the 1990s. However, the characterisation of backpackers in several studies points evidently to incongruities among researchers. Consequently, there is as yet no standard operational criteria for defining backpackers. Ergo, this paper reviews the existing literature in tourism and rouses the need to rethink the definition of a backpacker for valid data gathering.

We integrate approaches to the study of contexts in entrepreneurship and innovation to develop and apply a theoretical framework for analyzing how industry context influence entrepreneurial innovations in small and medium-sized hotels (SMSHs). Industry context includes the sectors, structures and stakeholder groups that constitute an industry, all of which affects the scope for entrepreneurial entry, the nature of entrepreneurial innovations (new products, services, methods or organization), and the strategies that owners/managers adopt to sequence their market entry choices and post-entry decisions (Garud, Gehman & Giuliani, 2014). The framework argues that industry context can both be an asset (opportunities) and a liability (challenges and risks) (Welter 2011) to entrepreneurial innovations by SMSHs in resource-scarce emerging destinations, such as those in Africa.

Empirically, our research setting is African economies, where it has been suggested that within the hospitality and tourism (H&T) industry, the competitive power of multinational hotel chains threatens the long-term survival of SMSHs (Mohammad, 2016; Sharma & Upneja, 2005), with implications for tourism development (Kimbu & Ngoasong, 2013). Empirical data was collected through in-depth qualitative interviews with owners and/or managers of six SMSHs in Kenya (02), Cameroon (02) and Ghana (02). The data was complemented by participant observation (authors stayed in each hotel for five days, using restaurants and facilities, holding informal discussions with staff and visitors) and informal interviews with senior representatives of related industry associations and government ministries. The selection of SMSHs was based on three criteria: 1) independent (i.e. not belonging to a hotel chain), 2) legal status as a limited company, and 3) having less than 120 rooms (e.g. Ahmad, 2015; Chaves et al., 2012; Sharma & Upneja, 2005). The data was content-analyzed to uncover the comparative dimensions of the H&T industry context across the three countries and the associated contextual influences on SMSHs, with a focus on entrepreneurial innovation.

The findings reveal the circumstances under which the H&T context can be an asset and/or a liability for entrepreneurs seeking to create new SMSHs and for established owner-managers seeking new methods of organizing and sustaining the operations of their SMSHs. The findings are further presented in a revised theoretical framework that can b

Drawing on literature examining tourism development and quality of life (QoL), this study critically explores and analyses the perception, interpretation and understanding of QoL by local residents and foreign migrant workers in a rapidly developing tourism destination. This presentation fills an empirical gap by exploring the perception of QoL among migrant workers and local residents in Macao during the era of unparalleled tourism development. Macao?s casino-based economic growth and intensity of 30 million annual visitors to a territory of just 29 square kilometers raises many questions as to the QoL of its residents and social sustainability for Special Administered Region of China and other tourist destinations. A bottom-up approach using in-depth interview data enabled the identification of new QoL indicators and clarifies the importance of social and emotional well-being constructs in understanding and researching QoL. By moving beyond economic indicators (e.g employment), towards socio-cultural values and emotional and psychological well-being, this study identifies and explores the importance of social sustainability (e.g. social equity, health equity, community development, livability, social capital, social support, human rights, labour rights, social justice and community resilience). Future policy and planning policies by government, businesses and NGOs are recommended to incorporate more perceived social indicators emerging from the bottom and across cultures. The research also provides recommendations for key stakeholders in government and industry on how to support local residents and migrant workers? quality of life and to better understand and achieve social sustainability.
Empowerment has been shown to provide beneficial experiences for women micro/small entrepreneurs as it contributes to social transformation, wealth creation, and community developmentas well as providing access to essential goods and services in poor and marginalized communities (Datta & Gailey, 2012; Amine & Staub, 2009). It is also reflected in the notion of embeddedness and associated with social entrepreneurship. Embeddedness especially in developing countries triggers opportunities for networking and thereby enables women entrepreneurs to access resources for development (Le & Nguyen, 2009) which may facilitate subsequent business creation by women and thus their empowerment (Datta & Gailey, 2012;Amine & Staub, 2009). However, while embeddedness may empower women entrepreneurs, it may also lock them into a network (Mair & Marti, 2006) that disempowers their ability to maximize the value creation potential of their enterprises thereby reducing the societal impacts. The purpose of this paper is to empirically explore how social embeddedness empowers and/or disempowers women social entrepreneurs in the hospitality and tourism industry in an African country context. In particular, we seek to understand the correlation between embeddedness and women (dis)empowerment from the perspective of women micro and small entrepreneurs who have experienced it and to illuminate how and why embeddedness (dis)empowers women entrepreneurs in their actions and decisions. We thus address two research questions: 1) To what extent does social embeddedness facilitate the (dis)empowerment of women entrepreneurs? 2) In what ways does empowerment affect women entrepreneurs and shape their actions as they sought to create and operate tourism social enterprises? To answer these questions we integrate concepts from social entrepreneurship, women (dis)empowerment and social embeddedness literature (e.g. Duffy et al., 2015; Zahra et al., 2009) in the context of the role of women as owner-managers of tourism social enterprises in bottom-of-the-pyramid emerging markets (Datta & Gailey, 2012).

Introduction

Embeddedness especially in developing countries triggers opportunities for networking and thereby has the potential of enabling women entrepreneurs to access resources for development (Le & Nguyen, 2009) which may facilitate subsequent business creation and thus their empowerment (Datta & Gailey, 2012; Amine & Staub, 2009). However, while embeddedness may empower women entrepreneurs, it may also lock them into a network (Mair & Marti, 2006) that disempowers their ability to maximize the value creation potential of their enterprises thereby reducing their societal impacts.

The purpose of this paper which is a work in progress is to empirically explore how social embeddedness empowers and/or disempowers women entrepreneurs in the hospitality and tourism industry in an African country context. We address two key questions: To what extent does social embeddedness facilitate the (dis)empowerment of women (social) entrepreneurs? In what ways does empowerment affect women entrepreneurs and shape their actions as they sought to create and operate H&T enterprises with an embedded social value? To answer these questions we integrate concepts from social entrepreneurship, empowerment and social embeddedness literature (e.g. Duffy et al., 2015; Di Domenico et al, 2010; Zahra et al., 2009) in the context of the role of women as owner-managers of small tourism (social) enterprises in base-of-the-pyramid emerging markets.

Methods & potential contribution to impact: Through thematic content analysis of in-depth semi-structured interviews with women entrepreneurs of micro and small tourism firms (STFs) (18), related government (03), social welfare and community development agencies and NGOs (03) in Cameroon, we analyze the relationship between embeddedness and women (dis)empowerment from the perspective of women entrepreneurs who have experienced it. In so doing, we not only illuminate how and why embeddedness (dis)empowers women entrepreneurs and their actions and decisions but more importantly we develop a framework within which social embeddedness if well-articulated can serve as a powerful tool in unlocking the potentials and improving the standard of living of many women in developing country destinations.

Findings & Discussion: This is a work in progress and there are no substantial findings yet. However, we will have some findings to present and discuss by the time of the conference.

Backpackers' travel ideology and experiences are increasingly being mediated by mobile phones (i.e. smartphones). This study explored their risk perceptions towards smartphone usage and consequent risk reduction strategies. Importantly, this paper proposes an integrated model of perceived risk combining technology and destination related risk factors. Employing a quantitative-dominant concurrent nested mixed methods approach, 567 surveys (Study A) and 15 in depth, semi-structured interviews (Study B) were conducted in Ghana. Evidently, backpackers? perceived risk towards smartphone usage is a function of both information technology and destination related risks. Their risk concerns are inhibited by trust in smartphones, innovativeness and familiarity. Levels of trust had a significant positive impact on their intentions to reuse the device, as did their satisfaction levels with the device and travel. Backpackers used a mix of both cognitive and non-cognitive measures to manage their risk perceptions. The theoretical, practical and methodological contributions of the study are discussed.
The realisation by many developing countries in the last two decades that tourism can be an important tool in achieving the sustainable development goals of poverty elimination, environmental sustainability and decent work and economic growth in general has led many governments to introduce measures aimed at promoting the development of the industry. However unlike many countries in Eastern and Southern Africa, countries in the biodiversity rich Central African sub-region only recently started to adopt measures aimed at the sustainable development of the industry geared towards the realisation of these goals. The travel and tourism industry here is still at an embryonic and chaotic stage of development, plagued with a multitude of challenges contributing less than 3% to GDP and employment. Using qualitative research methods i.e. semi-structured interviews and field observations, the paper examines the role of the tourism industry in the attainment of these goals and consequently tourism?s contribution to local economic development in Cameroon. It highlights the country?s diverse potentials as well as some of core challenges which are presently being encountered. The paper concludes by proposing a framework within which all stakeholders can actively work together towards the realisation of these goals.
Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) is one of the largest yet most neglected travel segments in tourism research. In particular, little is known about the ways in which hosts and visitors affect each other?s experiences from a quantitative perspective. This PhD project tackles this gap by developing a conceptual framework for the understanding of hosts-guests interactions looking especially at the way hosts? affect their visitors? experience. To achieve this goal a sequential mixed-methods approach in two stages (qualitative -> QUANTITIVE) was used to research the population of students at the University of Surrey. Consequently, the study began with a series of 14 semi-structured interviews (1st stage), in order to explore the phenomenon in Guildford and provide the context for the framework. The findings from the first stage, together with further review of the literature led to including four main constructs in the model. These are: hosts? destination knowledge, destination image, motivation to host and visitors? experience. The second stage consisted of a survey completed by 458 groups of hosts and their visitors that measured these constructs and tested the model using Structure Equation Model (SEM). The results suggest the model fits well with the data providing insights about the relationships between the constructs. For example, it was found that there is a virtuous circle of interactions between the host?s constructs and that destination image could be transferred from residents to visitors as generally assumed in literature. Overall, the model together with its interpretation and theoretical support provides the first conceptual framework for the understanding of the way hosts affect their visitors? experience. These findings aid in the understanding of the internal dynamics of the VFR phenomenon filling a crucial gap in literature and helping Destination Marketing Organizations to better manage the VFR market through their local residents (the hosts).