The Effectiveness of Exhibition Events in Promoting the Tourism Industry in Nairobi City County, Kenya
Mesa, Juliet Magoma
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The study sought to determine the effectiveness of exhibition events in promoting the tourism industry in Nairobi City County, Kenya. Kenya’s leisure tourism has suffered suppressed performance due to insecurity challenges and negative travel advisories resulting in decline on tourism revenues and visitor numbers. Thus the needs to focus on harnessing the full potential of tourism especially by targeting exhibition events segment to aid in the county’s tourism promotion. The objectives of the study included to: determine the effectiveness of exhibition events in promoting the tourism industry in Nairobi City County; investigate the motivational factors that influence exhibition event participation and how they influence tourism industry promotion in Nairobi City County; examine the main attributes that influence exhibition events participation and their role in tourism industry promotion to Nairobi City County and to determine the influence of exhibition event participation experience on the participants’ overall satisfaction to Nairobi City County. The study used a cross-sectional descriptive design. The study population comprised of all exhibition events participants in Nairobi City County with the use of a sample size of 384. The study was carried out in Nairobi City County, specifically at KICC, the Sarit Expo Centre, and Radisson Blu Hotel. Data collection was by the use of questionnaires and interview schedules. The collected data were processed and analyzed using means, frequencies, averages, percentages, standard deviations, content analysis and chi-square. The Results from the study were presented in graphs, tables, and charts. Study findings indicated that exhibition events are held monthly, quarterly, biannually and annually and they attract participants from all over the world. Majority of the respondent agreed that exhibition events are an effective tool for promoting the tourism industry. The exhibition events can be used to create additional tourism demand, increase visitor numbers, and stimulate travel for lots of people. They can also create country’s tourism brand awareness and as means to advertise a country’s tourism offering. From the findings, the respondents indicated generating sales, gaining competitive advantage, identifying potential customers, education benefits networking, and gathering information for future purchases as the main motivations for attending exhibition events. Destination safety and security, market coverage of the exhibition, venue accessibility and location, destination image and attractions were cited as the main attributes influencing exhibition participation. The study concluded that exhibition events have the potential of being used in promoting the tourism industry in Nairobi City County. To be successful in attracting events tourism, there is a need for the destination to develop and maintain up to standard infrastructure and facilities and also ensure the safety and security of its customers. To remain competitive the study recommends that: tourism marketers should harmonize the communication mix and embrace wholesomely the use of new technologies especially the use of social media together with exhibition events marketing to promote the tourism industry; the government in collaboration with the private sector need to work on event venues available in the destination and ensure they conform to international standards to enable the industry to meet the expected demand.