Albert gained his BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Yaoundé (Cameroon), then obtained an MA in Heritage Management from the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus (Germany), picking up a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resources Management along the way. He then completed his PhD in Tourism at Nottingham Trent University where he also worked as a Lecturer in Tourism and International Business Communication/Environment, before joining the University of Surrey in September 2010.
Areas of specialism
University roles and responsibilities
- Director of Postgraduate Research SHTM
- Member of University Ethics Committee
Affiliations and memberships
Business, industry and community links
- University of Sunderland UK: Oct 2015 - Sept 2019
Senior Research Associate
- School of Tourism & Hospitality University of Johannesburg, South Africa
12 OCT 2020
Surrey’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management teams up with UNWTO and the G20 to foster sustainable and inclusive tourism
06 DEC 2018
Backpackers’ perceived risk towards smartphone usage and risk reduction strategies: A mixed methods study
In the media
My research mainly focuses on linkages between entrepreneurship and development. In this regard my research explores issues around development-led, social & women entrepreneurship, stakeholder networks and inclusive development through hospitality & tourism in emerging destinations of the Global South. My work has been published in leading journals such as Tourism Management, Annals of Tourism Research, Journal of Small Business Management, and Journal of Sustainable Tourism among others.
The UK travel market has traditionally been treated as a homogenous group, with little allowance for cultural, ethnic and other differences. Further, stereotypical beliefs about Black and other BAME communities travelling to familiar destinations, rarely exploring new places, has meant little interest in these groups from the travel and tourism sector. A growing Black middle class, who are mostly young, tech-savvy, keen explorers of new destinations and tourism experiences create huge opportunities for travel brands, destinations and tourism marketers. In collaboration with Women in Travel CIC (WiT CIC), the project lays the foundation that will provide WiT CIC with the research insights needed to gain good evidence-based understanding of the Black travel segment, enabling WiT CIC to develop tools and guidance for its members to understand and better engage with this neglected but equally important travel segment from both demand and supply side perspectives. Duration: May – September 2021. Source of funding: SME Innovation Voucher (£10K).
Investigators: Albert Kimbu (PI), Sumeetra Ramakrishnan (co-I), Yoo Ri Kim (co-I), Prosanjit Saha (RA)
Postgraduate research supervision
Current PhD Supervision
2018 - ongoing: James Ellerby: Investigating the critical factors for achieving success in independent restaurants in the UK. - Principal Supervisor with Prof Andrew Lockwood.
2019 - ongoing: Whitney Smith: Gendered media representations in airline employment. - Co-Supervisor with Prof Scott Cohen.
2019 - Ongoing: Tingyu Liang: The role of gender in the tourism decision making process of Chinese couples. - Co-Supervisor with Prof Gang Li.
2019 - Ongoing: Ikram Nur Muharam: Blockchain based P2P accommodation services in the sharing economy. - Co-Supervisor with Prof Iis Tussyadiah.
2021 - Ongoing: Mohamed Nageh Ibrahim: The antecedents and consequences of tourism enterprises’ support for sustaining heritage tourism destinations: A comparative study between Egypt and UK. - Principal Supervisor with Dr Manuel Alector Ribeiro.
2021 - Ongoing: Prosanjit Shaha: Evaluating the efficacy of tourism social entrepreneurship initiatives in creating social values: A participatory evaluation approach. - Principal Supervisor with Prof Allan Williams.
2015 - 2018: Frederick Dayour: Backpacking and the digital travel economy: Exploring risk perceptions and risk reduction strategies - Principal Supervisor with Dr Sangwon Park
2014 - 2018: Julio Munoz: The Role of the hosts to VFR travellers: An inquiry into the influence of the hosts in the visitors' image and experience of a destination - Principal Supervisor with Prof Marg Deery & Dr Jason Chen.
2015 - 2019: Simon Kimber: The embodied gazes of young Chinese independent travellers and professional hosts: a performance perspective - Co-Supervisor with Prof Scott Cohen.
2016 - 2019: Claudia Eckhardt: An evaluative framework to measure processes and impacts of volunteer tourism - Co-supervisor with Prof Xavier Font.
Postgraduate research supervision
Courses I teach on
Air transport and tourism are interdependent systems wherein representations of gender are shaped by organisational cultures. Although airlines have progressed their gender balance, cabin crew work remains archetypically feminine. Taking a feminist poststructuralist approach, this paper uses thematic document analysis to examine how gendered discourses are constituted within airline organisational narratives through text, gestures and symbolic signs. Findings reveal that while airlines work to increase gender equality in employment practices, their efforts predominantly focus on the cockpit, neglecting roles beyond the flight deck. The paper recommends airlines broaden their gender equity focus to all roles and provides a basis for reshaping airlines' gender policies and practices.
Drawing on network theory, this study examines how the entrepreneurship orientation (EO)-performance nexus is intermediated by networks firms establish with government agencies, suppliers, and resource acquisition. Structural equation modelling is used to test the model on a sample of 556 women tourism entrepreneurs in Ghana and Nigeria. Findings indicate that EO positively influences firms’ social ties, resource acquisition, and performance. The results also indicate that establishing strong ties with government agencies leads to more resource acquisition among women owned tourism businesses than strong business ties with suppliers. Furthermore, business ties are more beneficial when they mediate the effect of EO on performance and become weak and negative when the effect is sequentially mediated by business ties and network resource acquisition. Political ties negatively influenced performance. This study provides novel insights into the EO, networks and performance nexus in resource-scarce contexts. The managerial implications for supporting women entrepreneurs are critically examined.
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.
Impact investing is making important and positive contributions to the socio-economic development of groups at the bottom-of-the-pyramid. Independent literature streams reveal how in resource scarce contexts of sub-Saharan Africa, businesses are increasingly tapping into this emerging opportunity which is extending loans and other forms of capital. However, to date, there is very limited understanding of this domain from a hospitality and tourism perspective. By synthesizing across these literature streams, we explore the opportunities, constrains and nature of impact investing, and theorize its key determinants in resource scarce contexts. To elaborate our theorization, we content analyse published accounts i.e. industry reports and academic literature to argue for the need for more impact investing in hospitality and tourism, a sector that has traditionally suffered from under-financing and limited politico-economic recognition. The study lays a foundation for future research on impact investing in hospitality and tourism and yield important policy and managerial implications.
This article draws on the conflicting arguments surrounding outdoor adventure tourism activities to determine if such activities might usefully be considered beneficial for humans and nature, and how they might offer avenues for sustainable tourism practice. Research in the field has often examined outdoor adventure activities through a lens that either highlights their negative environmental impacts or has sought to conceptualise motivations and/or experiences. In this article, we argue that through practices that are often seen as destructive, there is the possibility to think differently about human-nature relationships and pro-environmentalism. To explore these issues, we draw on data collected from a series of semi-structured interviews with outdoor adventure tourists. Our analysis highlights how outdoor adventure tourism facilitates reconnections to nature, offering potential wellbeing impacts and pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours. We conclude that outdoor adventure activities as a form of sustainable tourism have potential implications for our understanding of, and engagement with, sustainability, mental health and wellbeing.
Drawing on the literature examining women intrapreneurship, Chinese guanxi and tourism, this article critically explores a theoretical framework for understanding guanxi influences on women intrapreneurship in a non-western and highly patriarchal destination. Through a qualitative analysis of women managers from twenty-four medium and large tourism firms in China, the study provides evidence of Guanxi as socially embedded personal relationships for the exchange of favors, enabling women managers to initiate specific types of women intrapreneurship initiatives in their organizations. The findings reveal how the women managers draw on three forms of guanxi (external, within and back-stage) to display intrapreneurial actions as well as the firm-specific factors that constitute important determinants of women intrapreneurship. The managerial implications for encouraging and supporting women intrapreneurs are critically examined.
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.
Volunteer tourism organisations are largely unaccountable for the claims they make about generating benefits from the projects that they sell. The few evaluations of how volunteer tourism projects fail or succeed tend to underestimate the importance of contextual factors affecting the mechanisms introduced to achieve a desired sustainability outcome. Realistic evaluation is a recently developed methodology to critically develop testable context-mechanism-outcome (CMO) propositions that explain what works, for whom, under which circumstances. Our study makes a theoretical contribution by uniquely integrating realistic evaluation with collaboration theory to study the volunteer tourism supply chain, in order to demonstrate how to develop an evaluative framework to map out the components of CMO configurations. Our study also makes a methodological contribution by unpacking the black box of the mechanisms to deliver sustainable change through the supply chain of the volunteer tourism industry, which can be subsequently used to systematically monitor and evaluate context-specific circumstances that affect how different volunteering supply chains affect the sustainability of the projects’ outcomes.
Drawing on the literature examining the nexus between gender, entrepreneurial leadership and entrepreneurial performance, this article critically explores a framework for analysing the role of gender in shaping entrepreneurial performance and leadership in tourism firms in a non-western context. Utilising a poststructural feminist lens that challenges normative accounts of entrepreneurial leadership practices, a qualitative analysis of interview data from tourism entrepreneurs in Ghana and Nigeria provides evidence of how entrepreneurial performances and leadership are gendered, fluid and constantly being negotiated. The article extends current discussions within tourism entrepreneurship to engage more meaningfully with gender, thereby assisting in deconstructing homogenous, fixed conceptualisation of entrepreneurial leadership - often evident within the broader leadership and entrepreneurship literature dominated by Anglo-Western approaches. •We examine the role of gender in entrepreneurial leadership in tourism.•Anglo-Western approaches dominate entrepreneurial leadership literature.•Context determines identity construction and leadership performances in tourism.•Entrepreneurial leadership journey is best unpacked through poststructural feminism.•Leadership performances are not fixed but gendered, fluid and constantly negotiated.
Women's tourism entrepreneurship has been identified as fundamental to meeting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals of both 'gender equality' and 'decent growth and economic growth' but neither entrepreneurship nor sustainability are gender neutral in the tourism industry. Therefore, further research is required into how gender influences sustainable entrepreneurship, providing insights for tourism entrepreneurship policy. In response to a prevalent essentialism in much of the literature, this paper adopts a post-structuralist framework, alongside a mixed-methods approach, to understand the complex role of gender and sustainability at different stages of entrepreneurship. The initial focus is on a survey of 539 tourism students (women and men) which analyses the latent and nascent entrepreneurship stages, while 19 interviews with established tourism entrepreneurs provide further insights into these issues. The analysis focusses especially on the individual characteristics of risk, personal attitudes to entrepreneurship and behavioural control. While broad gender differences are observed, notably in societal perceptions of risk aversion, there is also considerable blurring of the approaches of established entrepreneurs in particular to sustainability and entrepreneurship. If entrepreneurship is to enhance sustainability, policy needs to account for the non-essentialised gendered dimensions that inhibit and enable sustainable tourism entrepreneurship.
Sustainable Tourism Policy and Planning in Africa offers an accessible and understandable overview of the challenges of integrating sustainability into tourism policy and planning in Sub-Saharan Africa and provides some interesting recommendations on how these could be overcome. Tourism is currently growing faster in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and in many other developing regions compared to the rest of the world. Using case examples from different segments of the tourism sector in different country contexts, this volume therefore reassesses context specific tourism policies and planning mechanisms in SSA over the years. It considers how the increasing focus on sustainability is reflected in different areas of the tourism sector including food security, the human capacity management, service delivery, local communities and heritage management, climate change and the influence of colonial legacies on tourism policy planning. For many SSA countries, it has only been in the last two decades that the development of sustainable and achievable context specific policies and planning mechanisms has become the norm. The chapters provide examples of how different dimensions of sustainability are integrated into tourism policy and practice, and examine the extent to which these are shaping the present, and their implications for the future sustainability of the tourism sector. Sustainable Tourism Policy and Planning in Africa will be of great value to academics, private and third sector employees to better understand tourism in Sub-Saharan Africa. Eight of the chapters were originally published as a special issue of Tourism Planning and Development. These are now complimented with a new introductory chapter and a concluding chapter that sets out a future research agenda for sustainable tourism policy and planning.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
The presentation discusses the findings of a recently completed scoping study which mapped the existing/accessible collaborative networks involving women entrepreneurs in (three) African countries and internationally. It analysed the membership structures/requirements and support mechanisms available to women members (especially owner/managers of small tourism firms) for skills acquisition and business development (e.g. access to capital, learning resources and practices, modes of learning, networking and mentorship opportunities) with the goal of developing a larger bid /that will ultimately: • Produce a self-assessment toolkit for women (owner-managers) to self-assess their human development needs as the basis for sustaining the success and transformational impact of their businesses in tourism development. • Establish self-governing collaborative learning networks hosted through African country-specific support infrastructure (e.g. HEIs) to implement the toolkit and provide a forum for knowledge exchange, professional development and mentoring opportunities, linked to resources and agencies that can support women’s participation in tourism in Africa. We belief that well-structured/organised collaborative networks can contribute not only to sustainable employment and HCD but ultimately to women’s empowerment and development-led entrepreneurship in tourism in Africa.
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
Utilizing 14 semi-structured interviews in a non-western context, this exploratory study examines how Filipino migrant workers’ leisure satisfaction and QoL are intertwined in Macao, China. The study reveals that Filipino migrant workers regard “family and friends”, and a sense of community as central to their QoL. Regarding leisure, the Filipino migrant workers experienced a lack of time-off and long working hours (structural leisure constraints) whilst living without their families in the Philippines (interpersonal leisure constraints). In addition, the Filipino migrant workers noted that few leisure options were available to them, and given commercial options dominate in Macao, the perceived cost of leisure participation clashes with the Filipino migrant workers responsibility to send remittances home. It is recommended that authorities and employers explore the importance of subjective QoL indicators such as sense of community that emerge from marginalized social groups, such as migrant workers, into their measurement systems and policy deliberations, to create a livable and sustainable community for all. Our study enriches the extant research by broadening the research location to focus on “voices” from low income migrants in a non-western context.
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 have profited from the growth of micro-finance institutions during the last decade, the tourism industry has not benefitted because it is still looked upon with a lot of scepticism by MFIs. Consequently finance/capital or the lack thereof remains one of the main drawbacks of tourism development in Cameroon. Objectives: • Analyse the present contribution of MFIs to tourism micro, small and medium size enterprise (MSME) development in Central African countries and Cameroon in particular. • Propose a model which makes use of existing and deeply embedded and social and cultural capital in the co-creation of investment/start-up financial capital for tourism MSMEs in emerging tourism destinations such as Cameroon. Conceptual Framework: Initially microfinance generation theories are used to explore the present situation i.e. the organisation, functioning and viability of MFIs (in SSA and Cameroon which is used as the case study) in generating capital for local economic development (LED) in general and tourism development in particular. This is followed by an examination of cultural affinity theories (Cheptea, 2007) and personalised socio-cultural (network) theories (Carlsson 2000; Granovetter, 2005), and how these concepts could be transformed into social capital through Home Town Associations (HTAs) (Evans, 2010; Feldman-Savelsberg & Ndonkou, 2010) as well as Rotating (and nonrotating) Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAS) (Low, 1995). These associations which are predominantly informal could serve as platforms for the generation of capital needed for tourism development. Based on these theories and in conjunction with the study findings, a model is developed which if successfully implemented could generate and facilitate access to financial capital for tourism businesses in SSA countries like Cameroon where informal social and cultural networks still play a crucial role in regulating daily life. Methods: Secondary data analysis of key industry statistics of MFIs in Cameroon with the goal of understanding and highlighting the volume and direction of flow of savings and loans provided by institutions to SMEs. This information came from public and private sector institutions involved in managing and regulating financial operations in Cameroon. Primary data came from 20 semi-structured interviews with private and public sector stakeholders drawn from Cameroon’s financial, tourism and LED sectors. This included government representatives, tour/travel agents, economic operators owning/working in MFIs, community groups and non-governmental organisations engaged in sustainable (tourism) development activities at national, regional and community levels in Cameroon. In addition, 15 focus group discussions were held with HTAs and ROSCAs in the towns of Yaounde, Douala, Bamenda, Buea, and Wum in Cameroon. Questions during these discussions focused on the role, efficiency, opportunities and challenges presented by formal & informal MFIs in generating capital for micro and small enterprise tourism establishments and LED in Cameroon. Other questions examined the challenges and properties that characterized the relationships among the different set of actors with emphasis on their participation and/or non-participation in tourism ventures and the reasons thereof especially from a financial perspective.
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.
Tourism is currently growing faster in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and in many other developing regions compared to the rest of the world. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates that in absolute terms there were 63 million international tourist arrivals in SSA for the year ending 2017 – a 9% growth rate. However, this is only 5% of global international tourist arrivals with the share of receipts for SSA at 3% (World Tourism Organization [UNWTO], 2018). While tourism in SSA has long been touted as a potential vehicle for economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction (Novelli, 2015), the outcome has been inconsistent and implications at the local level questionable (Adu-Ampong, 2017, 2018a; Mbaiwa, 2005; Kimbu & Ngoasong, 2013). Nonetheless, the growing influence of the tourism sector in SSA calls for careful consideration of the past, present and future planning and policy contexts through which tourism can be leveraged to achieve sustainable outcomes. This Special Issue on Sustainability in tourism policy and planning in Sub-Saharan Africa: past, present and future, reassesses the process of tourism policy and planning in SSA over the years. This is set against the wider context of the UNWTO having declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) having three of the seventeen goals making an explicit reference to tourism in goal 8: economic growth and employment, goal 12: sustainable consumption and production, and goal 14: conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development (United Nations, 2016). The tourism sector is ergo being called upon to explicitly integrate sustainability in its economic, social and environmental dimensions than has been done previously. This Special Issue therefore considers how the increasing focus on sustainability in policy discourses are shaping current and future tourism policy and planning in the SSA context. The papers are drawn from across all the different sub-regions of sub- Saharan Africa and provide a critical (re)examination of the role of tourism policies, plans and practices in achieving sustainable development in SSA.
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.
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 be applicable to other resource-scare destinations. The practical and policy implications for developing the H&T industry in ways that provide incentives for the development of SMSHs are critically examined. For example, understanding whether the dimensions of industry context serve as an asset or liability is critical to making decisions about when to create a new SMSH and how to identify and respond to changes in the industry that can affect the survival and success of an existing SMSH. Limitations include small sample size (two hotels from three African countries); however, the wide variance in the managerial experiences and the age, size and scope of operations of the hotels is significant for cross-case analysis and theory development.
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.
This article critically uncovers how embeddedness within a resource-scarce context influences high-growth women’s entrepreneurship. Research suggests that though highly embedded women entrepreneurs can easily access resources and attain legitimacy, resulting in high-growth businesses, they can also become locked into existing systems that constrain their growth development paths. Using 16 qualitative cases developed in Cameroon, we unpack and resolve this paradox by analyzing how entrepreneurial path creation by women entrepreneurs enables the realization of growth aspirations. Implications for initiatives to support high-growth women’s entrepreneurship in resource-scarce contexts are critically examined.
Small and medium-sized tourism and hospitality enterprises (SMTHEs) are often susceptible to various hazards, which result in risk concerns. Insurance is recognised as one of the risk management strategies, but evidence indicates that insurance uptake among SMTHEs has been low. Yet, researchers have hardly researched into the factors that influence insurance uptake among SMTHEs. Two-hundred and fifty (250) respondents were selected using a multi-stage sampling technique. Confirmatory factor analysis, multivariate logit and probit regression techniques were used to determine factors underlying SMTHEs' insurance uptake. Risk concerns, the firm's characteristics, the perceived benefits of insurance and other informal risk coping mechanisms, as well as insurance service provision concerns were identified as determinants of insurance uptake. This is one of the first papers to offer a holistic understanding of the factors influencing SMTHEs' insurance subscription in a resource-scarce destination of Sub-Saharan Africa. The practical and theoretical implications of the paper are discussed.
This paper examines the prospects of applying the Hollywood scriptwriting formula to a destination transforming a range of potentially disconnected tourist destination experiences into a more immersive, interrelated narrative and thereby generating a cohesive destination brand that has an emotional and personal bond with tourists. A step-by-step conceptual model, based on Hollywood’s scriptwriting formula, is developed, contextualised and employed for the case study destination of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The model offers destination management organizations an innovative new method of developing a destination brand centred on storytelling while the findings demonstrate that the scriptwriting approach creates a narrative for the destination that connects the various experiences in an experiential framework which carves out a brand that promises strong emotional and experiential benefits for tourists. This paper provides an original and novel rethink of how to construct the destination experience and formulate the destination brand, employing scriptwriting capabilities, rather than traditional marketing concepts.
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.
Attempts by many African governments to implement institutional reforms aimed at developing and implementing inclusive tourismrelated policies have met with mitigated success. This study ergo, critically unpacks policy-related impediments associated with the operations of tourism firms in Africa, drawing on evidence from small and medium sized hotels in Cameroon. Analysis of empirical data collected through semi-structured interviews with 30 hotel owner/managers in Cameroon revealed that: (i) their impact on employment was minimal, with a heavy reliance on family members/relatives; (ii) limited employee education and skills for effective service delivery; (iii) low hotel occupancy rates; and (iv) poor destination competitiveness. Important policy and planning recommendations are made, most notable of which is a critical (re-)examination of tourism policy and planning practices by means of developing and implementing cogent development plans that are cognisant of the local realities and geared towards guaranteeing effective service delivery, thereby ensuring destination competitiveness.
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.
Government policies to support women's empowerment in tourism through sustainable human capital management (HCM) is an emerging research theme. Tourism policies can contribute significantly to African women’s empowerment by breaking existing stereotypical barriers that impede women’s HCM. Based on a narrative analysis of published academic and policy literature, we uncover how policy support for collaborative networks can enhance women entrepreneur’s HCM and thereby increase their resiliency and that of their tourism businesses. Collaborative networks are regional and country-specific forums, programs and/or initiatives for networking, skills development and access to resources and agency for women tourism entrepreneurs. Drawing on findings from analyzing collaborative networks involving women entrepreneurs in Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon, the paper develops a conceptual framework that depicts four determinants of collaborative networks that influence the HCM of women entrepreneurs in tourism, namely type of network, resources, social capital dimensions and human capital management. Finally, the paper explicates how these determinants can inform national tourism policy to support women entrepreneurs.
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.
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.
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.