Patronage of tourism sites in Osun State, Nigeria.
The study identified and categorized tourism sites; assessed the socio-economic characteristics of patrons; examined the level and spatial pattern of patronage and identified factors responsible for level and spatial pattern of patronage. This was with a view to determining the factors that influenced the level of patronage of tourism sites in Osun State, Nigeria. Primary data were obtained through questionnaire administration in the study area. The 61 identified tourism sites were categorized into three of 39 cultural or historical, 11 park or eco-tourism and 11 landform or adventure tourism. Twenty five percent from each category were randomly selected for survey. One out of every ten patrons visiting the sites was selected for survey using Quota sampling technique for a period of one week (Sunday to Saturday). Three hundred and ninety-seven questionnaire were retrieved from the 455 administered on the patrons. Information obtained from patrons included socio-economic characteristics, frequency of patronage, cost of patronage, distance of patrons origin from the sites, factors influencing patronage and level of accessibility among others. Data collected were analyzed using both descriptive (tables, cross tabulation and percentages) and inferential statistics (spearman correlation chi-square and one way analysis of variance). The study established that historical sites in Osun State accounted for 63.9% of all identified tourism sites. Similarly, the park and land form sites accounted for 18.0%. The findings’ on gender revealed that the male patron was 58.2%, while the female was 41.8%. The study further showed that 60.7% of the patrons had the post-secondary education and 9.3% had no formal education. Of the patrons, 43.1% were students while civil servants represented 18.1%. The pattern of patronage of tourism sites indicated that 22.7% of the weekly patrons was recorded on Saturdays while 8.6% of the patrons visited the sites on Mondays. Findings also revealed that the Osun grove and Oke Maria respectively attracted 12.3% and 8.6% of all patrons of tourism sites in Osun State. The proportion of patrons that visited Wenger’s gallery (3.8%) and Ogiyan shrine (3.5%) were least. The study established that locational attributes of the sites accounted for 17.9% of the factors for the level of patronage, while distance to patrons, environmental condition of the sites, income and accessibility accounted for 16.7%, 11.9%. 10.7% and 6.8% respectively. The study concluded that there were variations on the level of patronage of tourism sites in Osun State explained by locational attributes of the sites, distance, income, environmental condition of the sites and accessibility.