1.1 Background to the Study
In recent times, small and medium scale business has been a major source of revenue to most urban dwellers in Nigerian cities. World Tourism Organization (2016) has pointed out that hotels are now regarded as one of the best monuments in developed and developing countries of world. First class hotels in Abuja, Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Calabar, Kano, Kaduna, etc now rank one of the best tourist attractions in Africa. This is evidence that hotels and recreational centers serve as tourism centers through the provision of tourism facilities in most Nigerian Cities (Fred, 2017). Awaritefe (2004) opined that environmental perception is one of the psychological processes that occur as a result of the interaction of humans with their environment. Awaritefe (2003) emphasize the significance of positive perceptions by consumers in their selection of holiday resorts. This implies that small scale hotels plays significant role in the development of Oleh.
Small scale business such as hotels and recreational centers is necessary as it is imperative to incorporate new business idea in form of entrepreneurship in business which will equip tourists to meet the socio-economic requirement of the world of work. It will empower the young youths and provide job for the timid unemployed youths in Nigeria (Evans, 2016). Through small scale businesses, they can explore the business and economic opportunities around them to become self-employed and create job for other people. Through small scale business, specific skills that are needed for successful entrepreneurship is taught such as the knowledge of the business environment, managerial skills, marketing strategies etc. According to Martins (2017), small scale businesses which is an essential tool for economic development, will take cognizance of the need to provide unemployed youths with the ability and skills to be gainfully employed upon completion of their programme as well as prepare them for setting up their small businesses as entrepreneurs. All these are in tandem with the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategies (NEEDS) thrust on value orientation, employment generation and wealth creation.
As observed by Elvis (2014), tourism has been of great help to most entrepreneurs who see the need of venturing into small scale businesses such as hotels and recreational centers. The Delta State Ministry of Culture and Tourism Development in 2016 declared Wellington Hotel, Warri, Grand Hotel, Asaba, Delta Plaza, Obiaruku, Home Base Hotel Kwale, and other fancy hotels within the states which meets tourism requirement as tourists sites. In this vein, the World Tourism Organization (WTO) in recent years has approved various hotels such as Chariton Hotel, Abuja and Leki Suit, Lagos as monuments and tourists attractions (Tourism Factbook, 2017). Osuala (2009) predicted that small scale business at grass root level will not only drastically reduce social vices among the youth but will also cater for all interests, the dropouts, the handicapped, the geniuses and other physically-fit persons.
Small scale business at grass root entails the strategies as adopted by the tourists, which vary from locations to locations. A hotel which is usually positioned at urban centers and open places will always have more people patronizing it than that located in villages and remote areas that are inaccessible. Okon (2002) confirmed that small scale business strategies include not only the manner of presentation of tourist facilities, but everything that he/she (tourists) does in the way of arranging tourism items within the hotel to tourism activities.
According to Obi, (2005) small scale business is much more than opening a business, it involves turning the small business into big business opportunities which eventually become tourist attraction in future. This is in agreement with the tourism approach proposed by Shepherd and Douglas in Agbamu, (2011) and has been touted as an effective path towards developing the entrepreneurial spirit. This approach requires a shift from the traditional small scale businesses to active participation in a real life entrepreneurial environment (Nyanducha, 2006). The approach enables the tourist engage in some activity, reflect upon the activity, derive insight from the analysis and incorporate the result through a change in understanding of what (Sherman, Serbora & Pigman, 2008) calls experiential learning, which is gained through experience.
Osuala (2009) opines that small scale business remains a practical experience that empowers the youths for greater challenges of the future, as it will enable the individual to understand how the economic decision he makes will influence his present and future standard of living as he will understand how the labour market functions. Thus, entrepreneurship in business at grass root is supposed to be dynamic, practice-oriented and activity based through the application of different teaching strategies. According to Fred (2017), assessing the challenges of small scale hotels in Nigeria would help highlight the challenges confronting small scale hotels in Nigeria with a view to tackling such challenges so that investors can be confident enough to invest in the Nigerian economy which would at the long run help in the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
Studies have shown that people have neglected small scale business and business environment have not been friendly for people who do not have the required capital to sustain the business especially the establishment of hotels and recreational centers which requires huge capital and finance. It is against this background that this study is carried out to assess the challenges of small scale hotels in Oleh, Delta State.