Status of Kenya's domestic tourism destinations and factors influencing their choice among Nairobi residents
Mutinda, Ndivo, Rayviscic
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During the past few decades, tourism has emerged as one of the world's major industries, exceeding the importance of many manufacturing and other service industries, particularly in Kenya. As a result, tourism planning and development has become a central policy matter in Kenya. Although tourism in the world is predominantly domestic, the same may not be true for Kenya. Though Kenya boasts of numerous world-class tourist attractions spread throughout the country with diverse natural resources, cultural resources and historical heritage, the full potential of the different tourist regions has not been developed. Further, there is a clear disparity in the growth and preference of the country's tourist regions. As such, the overall objective of this study was to assess the status of Kenya's tourist destinations and the factors that determine their choices among the residents of Nairobi. The study adopted a cross-sectional descriptive survey design that covered 118 respondents randomly selected from adult patrons at the Sarit Centre, an up-market shopping mall in Nairobi. Data were collected using self-administered questionnaires. Data were then cleaned, coded, entered into SPSS spreadsheets for analysis. The Hypotheses were tested using chi-squares and Pearson Product-Moment Correlation at 95% confidence level. The results indicated that tourism in Kenya is almost exclusively centered on the south coast beaches and a handful of game reserves or national parks. The Kenya's domestic tourist market considered individual trait factors as being more significant in determining the choice of a holiday destination than the environmental factors. The findings further indicated that the factors that motivated the Nairobi residents in the choice of a local destination ranked as (1) Knowledge and Adventure; (2) Economic concerns; (3) Personal safety, (4) Destination Information, (5) Travel Arrangement (6) Destination Features; (7) Family and friends; (8) Leisure and Relaxation; (9) Religious and cultural considerations and (10) Travel Bragging. Statistical tests failed to reject the Hypothesis that majority of Kenya's domestic tourist attraction areas do not fall within the evoked set of the destination choice sets. (c2-Calculated) of 5.02 against a c2 - distribution of 9.49 at 5% significance was obtained). The tests also failed to accept the Hypothesis that there is no significant difference between the influence of individual trait factors and environmental factors on the choice of a holiday destination among the Kenya's domestic market c2 calculated of 14.98 and 10.39 for the individual trait factors and environmental factors respectively were obtained against a c2 - distribution of 9.49 was obtained). Moreover, the tests also failed to accept the Hypothesis that the determinants of domestic destination choices are not significantly different among Nairobi residents. A c2 of 95.2 against a distribution Chi-square of 82.7 at 5% significance level was obtained. Based on these findings, it is recommended that the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife adopt a Regional Tourism Development Strategy in the development of Kenya's tourism industry. More so, tourism marketers should develop clearly defined segments of the domestic tourist market to facilitate targeting the market with the right offers. There is also need for tourism marketers to play a more aggressive role in providing travel information and formulating holiday packages for the domestic market. This will act as an enticement to the domestic tourist market and also help to open up less popular destinations as these will be packaged together with the relatively more popular ones. Opening up of much of the country to domestic tourism will ultimately attract international tourism to such destinations, thus extending the multiplier effect of tourism on national development.