Tourism has traditionally acted as major source of income within many developing countries. The huge amounts of investment put into this sector points to the important role it plays in the growth of the economy ad the development of economic potential. At independence, Kenya identified tourism as a major driver of the economy and as over the years strived to develop this sector through numerous investments. As a result there has been development and opening up of many tourist markets, making Kenya one of the leading tourist destinations in the world. There has also been development in domestic tourism, a factor that a largely boosted tourism in the country. Other countries that can be considered as developing tourism markets include Tanzania, Rwanda and China.
Despite the positive impacts of tourism, the sector also faces numerous challenges that these countries have had to grapple with. The governments of these countries have put in place strategies to overcome these challenge which threaten their economic potential. There are numerous factors tat have influenced the growth and development of tourism in developing markets. These factors are a political, social and economic.
The economic stability of a country plays a great role in the development of other sectors within that country. A stable and highly performing economic climate encourages investment in various sectors and consequently there is more economic growth. Kenya and other developing countries that place great emphasis on tourism have experienced the influence of economic actors on tourism development in their countries.
Kenya has open economic policies which allow foreign direct investment in tourism and other support services. The hospitality industry in the country is dominated by foreign investors form countries such as Britain and Italy. The hotel industry is especially important as tourists who come into the country expect first class accommodation and treatment, a factor that ha a great influence on their perception of tourism. The open door economic policies are also replicated in other tourist markets such as India, which is another major tourist destination in the developing world. Last year, foreign investment in tourism in India ranged into billons of dollars with foreign investors building hotels and other facilitates that greatly contribute to tourism development. Although Kenya has relatively few infrastructure solely owned by the government, it is still regarded as the leading country in East Africa in as far as its investment in communication, transportation and financial with a positive GDP growth of 4.5 % mostly owed to tourism growth. Among the economic developments, which make tourist industry to prosper, are increase of computer literate skilled workers in the industry whose dealing with the tourist has become more effective. Kenya having a good percentage of its foreign income coming from other remittances from its citizens working overseas, it has also seen the need to encourage foreign investment by providing economic regulations that attract them. Kenyan infrastructural growth has been credited buys many economists even being ranked as the immediate alternatives to South Africa.
However, the dominance of the hospitality industry by foreign players has to an extent hampered the development of domestic tourism as foreign investors are not familiar with local tastes. As a result, there is a perception that their hotel packages are tailored for the foreign markets and do not appeal to local tourists. This ahs hampered the growth of domestic tourism, although in recent years there has been a gradual effort at attracting local tourists to the tourism circuit in Kenya.
It is also worth noting that Kenya has a high population of its country within the middle class and therefore there is more disposable income within the population. Statistics indicate that over 40% of Kenyan are middle class citizens meaning that they posses the potential to afford holidays and safaris in the country’s tourist attraction areas. This factor has greatly influenced the growth of domestic tourism.
Kenya has a well developed infrastructure that supports tourism activities. The county has a well developed road network within the main highways and other feeder roads leading into tourist attraction areas. This has encouraged investment in tourism transport with people being encouraged to invest in tourist vans. There is also good airline connection, wit Nairobi serving as a transport hub within the African region. There are many international flights that come into Nairobi, and most of these flights originate from traditional Kenya tourist markets. Among the major airlines that come to Nairobi are British Airways, the Royal Dutch Airline and Delta Airlines. It therefore means that foreigners interested in visiting Kenya have good transport connections into the country. Other counties with the African regions have been emulating Kenya in transforming their airports into hubs in order to attract more tourists into their countries. A good example is Rwanda which in recent years has put efforts to position itself as a tourist destination. Currently Rwanda is planning to build a new airport which will enable it accommodate larger plane and therefore encourage travel into the country.
Kenya has a reliable source of electricity power from several of its hydroelectric power supplies. This has proved its ability to provide energy in tourist related areas and recreational facilities. This electricity includes maintaining the electric fence systems in the national parks, providing security measures for the tourists in the process of their visits.
Kenya has been raked as number four in east Africa in its financial service delivery as ranked by Nairobi Stock Exchange. It is also hailed for its international standards banking systems that have allowed efficient transfer of money therefore ensuring a smooth monitorial flow of the visitors while away from their countries. The country is proud to own two of the four international banks while there are other family owned, local and microfinance whose service delivery has reached that of international banks.
Kenya has always enjoyed its progress international economic relations, this is mostly due to its flexibility and openness in the allowing other nations also to invest in its country. From this mutual relationship, Kenya has always accessed both supplies and markets across borders with no problem therefore in accessing both tourists and other supplies that can be useful in facilitating tourism management.
Kenya and most of the developing countries have a rich cultural heritage that is greatly attractive to tourists. The Kenyan coastal areas that tourists love as many cultural and historical artifacts which attract foreign visitor.
Socially Kenya constitutes of 42 ethnical tribes of indigenous blacks, Arabs and a few Europeans and Asians.. Most of the Kenyan traditional activities and cultural values up to date have remained as a source of tourist attraction to many foreign citizens. There are also tourist related artifacts produced from the traditional activities, which normally portrays a high level of technicality, skills and creativity, which even today’s technological development has not yet outworn them. Among these skills, include pottery, carvings, paintings and other forms of decoration.
Tourists can also be interested in observing other cultural activities like, traditional circumcisions, sacrifices dances, crowning of social leader, wedding ceremonies among others, which are characterized by a high degree of creativity and uniqueness and hence attractive. Most of the tourist attraction sites are based on real life alongside some of the cultural groups who have maintained their traditional activities and therefore still act as a supplementary source of entertainment in the tourism industry.
Kenyan people are known to live in as a collective group of both nuclear and extended family this has helped in efficient transfer of cultural influences from one generation to the other and therefore conserving the culture. Early in the olden days, there used to be rivalry over property in this case livestock, grazing and watering fields among the people of different communities but with education and government administration intervention, such vices were replaced by cohesive strategies with no conflicts. Kenya belongs to three linguistic groups of which each has its sub tribes with unique tourist attraction sites. These groups include the Bantu, cushites and Nilotes, the Bantu are located mostly in the central, a few in the western side while the rest are found in the coast, they comprise of almost a third of the country’s population. Among them the most commonly known are the kikuyu Kamba and Luhya. The Kikuyu people are commonly found around the Mount Kenya region whose major tourist attraction aspects are their historical involves the freedom fighters against the British colonial rule. However the kikuyu having suffered a lot in colonial era, they have still developed a negative attitude towards any white person therefore making tourism exploration in that area .The kikuyu are known to be the sole owners of the country’s largest coffee farms which were introduces by the colonialists and servers as a tourist attraction site.
With the introduction of universal education in Kenya thee social livelihood among the citizens in Kenya include improvement in communication process. Through the introduction of education, there has been an improved communication network mostly between the tourist stakeholders and the local communities living within the tourist attraction sites. This has reduced the incidence if hostility among the tourist by this rural community since they have perceived the white as an enemy due to the colonization stigma. Effort from the government to explain to them the importance of such people to the community has become effective and instead they have been incorporated in tourism improvement strategies. These local communities after a series of training have become of great use in protecting the animals from poaching, forest from deforestation and also acting as tour guides and securities to the tourists.
Tourism in majority of the developing countries is the second ranked source of foreign income, first one being agriculture. In Africa, the major tourist attraction sites are the wild life followed by unique geographical features and some of the cultural dynamics amongst different communities. Many state leaders regard its vital importance in its role in economic development as a complete industry for exporting services. Tourism provides great macro economic impact mostly in, providing foreign income for purchases of imports and creation of mass employment from hospitality, recreation, forestry, wild life transport, security cultural among others. In as far as tourism is concerned Kenya has been regarded as one of the most exciting destinations for international tourists in the world. Initially when one could mention Kenya with respect to tourism, the first picture to come to one’s mind was the wild life but with the fast pace of development, leisure has been incorporated among the reasons to visit Kenya for holidays.
Tourism in Kenya is by magnitude the highest by far in foreign income earner owing its achievement from not only its natural resources but also the stakeholder’s devotion in excellent plan and show case implantation. This has made Kenya despite having almost similar natural resources in east Africa to be the first and most favorite destination for tourist in the region.
Kenya as the tourism stakeholders put it, it has been blessed with a well-integrated combination of natural mostly, geographical features whose uniqueness has always being a source of amazement to tourist and hence attracting them. The most amazing thing is despite the several visits, photos and videos taken on several sites, it has never reached a point of monotony but instead more curiosity ids developed making more visitors to frequent as many consecutives holidays as possible. Among the unique and amazing geographical attracting sites are, the lake Vitoria and Naivasha not forgetting the amazing look of the rift valley, which also has some of the traces of the early man evaluating historical evidences.
The second tallest mountain in Africa, Mount. Kenya happens to attract many in its activities like climbing it, exploring its wild life and vegetative variations among the slopes. However irrespective of a variety of different attraction sites and scenery, tourism exploration in Kenya cannot be a 100% complete in terms of satisfaction in the absence of wildlife exploration,. The most famous and amazing tourist attraction issues are the big five mammals and the herds behavior of migrating beasts and birds among different habitats.
Several boards operate independently with a common aim of maintaining and improving the tourism industries in Kenya. These boards are listed alongside their area of operation as follows: Kenya wild life service in the maintenance, management and conserving the wild life and its habitats, plantations developing board in ensuring local wildlife and other ecosystems in the area of their management are conserved. Hospitality companies ensure the locomotion, accommodation and the general welfare of the visitors.
Kenyan government has also taken the initiative to incorporate the private sector in this business to aid in its efficiency of improving tourism service delivery. Among the privatized organization, include the cultural organization formerly known as the Bomas of Kenya and the Kenya utalii hotels. however there are other sectors that were specially introduced purposely for the tourism industry development include the Kenya airways for travelling logistics, tourists travelling agents, and other associations like , hotel owners, caters, beach operators and coats managers associations.
The political stability of nay country plays an important role in attracting visitor’s t its borders. A major factor that has placed Kenya at the top of tourist destinations is its relative political stability compared to other developing and emerging tourist destinations. Since its independence, Kenya has provided security to its visitors a factor that has played a great part in its development. Contrasting this with an emerging destination such as Nigeria, Kenya ha made great strides in terms of political stability. Although Nigeria has in recent years tries to diversify its economy by investing in tourism, perceptions of insecurity have always drawn back these efforts. However, Kenya ha also had its fair share of insecurity that has sometimes posed a challenge.
Political violence had an immediate impact on the tourist industry for it directly affected the major tourism attraction areas mostly in the coast region. According to the political analysts, the violence was termed to be immature implying that chances of its repetition were high. These therefore led top the international tour guides to raise a warning sign on the likely hood of Kenyans political unrest, which defiantly lowered the tourists, turn out. Kenya has also involved itself with fallouts with international fallouts with other nations indirectly or directly. Kenya being a major allies of America, which is a major enemy of Arabic countries leading to terrorist attacks. America having a strict security network has become hard to be hit by terrorists and therefore they result into hitting weaker countries. This has therefore made Kenya to be a subjected it this terrorist attacks therefore making it insecure for the tourists to explore freely.
Most African countries have raised concerns on the rate at which undesirable behaviors from the western countries have been transferred to Africans. Among this vices include drug abuse, sexual immorality and human trafficking with more than 90 % of them owing their causes to tourist. Other ecological problems associated with tourism include soil degradation, overcrowding of human beings in the animal habitats interfering with their normal activities mostly reproduction and therefore compromising the population increase. Most of the jobs created by this industry do not benefit the local people who are mostly involved or associated with tourist attraction cites. Influx of tourists has made the price of goods and services to go up therefore making it hard for the locals to afford. There has been a major reported problem in bio diversity mostly in coast due to the development in the name of bulking of structures like hotels which will affect the natural habitats of the coast.
Tourism presents many challenges despite its economic and social potential. A comparison of Kenya and Rwanda in tourism development challenges reveals many similarities and difference. Kenya is a developing tourist destination while Rwanda is an emerging destination. Some of the challenges facing both countries in the growth of tourism is the global economic meltdown. The economic recession in the world has hit both countries had leading to a decrease in the numbers of tourists. The crisis has discouraged foreigners from visiting some countries as a result of lack of disposable income.
One challenge that Kenya ha greatly suffered form in the development of its tourism is environmental degradation. As tourism grows, there is a drive towards clearing large areas of land for the construction o facilities such as hotels. This has lead to depreciation of forest cover. The destruction of the environment along the coastal areas as also posed a great challenge to tourism development in the country. In contrast, Rwanda has attempted to avoid these problems .
In mot developing countries, governments do not invest back into the community the funds gained from tourism. This is one of the problems that communities in Kenya have always complained about. The government therefore faces the challenge of satisfying communities living along the tourist destination areas such as Maasai Mara. This has sometimes led to unrest in these areas as the communities demand a large share of the tourist revenues. This is also a challenge in Rwanda although there are no large populations living along these areas in Rwanda. The problem is therefore greater in Kenya where the population is large and with greater economic and scalar awareness by the people.
As various governments within the developing world pursue economic success they have put in place strategies to guide the future development of the industry. The future of the tourist industry is bright despite the grim outlook posed by the present challenges. The global economic crisis is especially a serious challenge at present. However, as economies in Europe and other traditional tourism markets recover, the tourist destinations will experience a boom.
Some counties such as Kenya have at present put in place strategies to encourage domestic tourism which mitigates against global factors such as the financial crisis and travel advisories on security. In recent years, the growth of the domestic market in Kenya has witnessed tremendous growth and there are indications that this is a trend that is set to grow. As more Kenyans explore the tourist attractions in their own country, hotels and lodges will continue reaping returns even during the low season.
The emerging markets are also creating a situation of competition, which has forced the traditional markets to evaluate their marketing strategies. Countries such as Nigeria and Rwanda are struggling to catch up with traditional markets and this has given rise to intense competition in the tourism market. The increased competition means that tourists are likely to experience better packages and treatment in the various competing destinations. Value for money is an important consideration for tourist and increased competition provides an opportunity for realizing this advantage.
It is important that government in developing countries put in place effective policies to promote tourism. They should liaise with local communities to achieve this aim. The participation of local communities in the development of tourism strategies ensures that there is coordination of ideas, especially with regard to issues such as environmental protection and revenue distribution. The local communities understand their ecosystem better and their views should be incorporated in all issues affecting tourism in their communities. There is also a need for the development of regional tourism in developing countries so that the market does not only rely on European markets alone.
On the overall, tourism development in the developing destinations faces mixed prospects. However, there is no denying that the industry provides great promise to the economic potential of the developing countries both in the short term and the long term. Policies by the various governments must be positively channeled and the various tourist organizations in these countries should work towards strengthening the industry for a better future.
Tourism evidently plays a great role in the developing countries. This is more so in countries that have put tourism at the top of investment priorities. Considering these important factors, there is a need to conserve and maintain this industry by having many improvements in ensuring the industry is attracting and retaining more tourists. The first thing to consider is the importance of natural biodiversity to tourists. Wild life is the major tourist attraction sites therefore there is a need to maintain all the factors that make wildlife to be sustainable. This conservation measures include avoiding poaching and illegal logging, which lead to deforestation. Through the wildlife service providers, they educate the community on the importance of the wild life and the need to conserve it. Tourist related institutions in Kenya and other developing countries should be started in order to train the Kenyan staff on the better techniques to attract and retain tourists in the nation. This train may range from transport and logistics, hospitality management and tour guiding .security measures should be improved in this case including elimination of terrorism threats in certain countries, ensuring a stable government to avoid violence because of civil war and other upraising which are likely to scare away tourists from coming. There is also need to establish presentable agents and scouts in the tourist’s countries who provide first hand information and guidance on which country to go for holiday and the attraction sites that one is expected to experience.