Contribution of Educational Tourists’ Consumer Behaviour to Sustainable Tourism Development in Selected Universities in Nairobi Metropolis, Kenya
Jebet, Bitok Jane
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Educational tourism enables potential learners to acquire new knowledge from programmes in foreign locations. Educational tourism started with the wealthy and upper class in Europe with participants engaging in study tours for many years in European countries between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. In recent years students are taken from Europe other parts of Europe, South pacific, Middle East, Africa and to all major attractions globally. Africa has a high potential of this market due to its rich biodiversity and beautiful varied scenery. The programmes include outbound, faculty-led study abroad programmes. The students were referred to as international, overseas or foreign. Africa recognizes educational tourism as a promising niche‟ market segment to cushion out the fluctuating numbers of other market segments. The region receives about 14% foreign scholars yearly to add to those existing in their institutions of learning. Kenya receives approximately 50,000 of the students distributed as 1% admissions to public universities and 12% to private universities, a constant 200,000 international students annually. The study purposed to establish the contribution of educational tourists‟ consumer behaviour on sustainable tourism development in Nairobi metropolis, Kenya. The specific objectives of the study were to; evaluate the effects of the consumer behaviour of educational tourists, determine their understanding of sustainable tourism, find out tourist activity options available for them and the effects of consumer behaviour and their activity options on sustainable tourism development in Kenya. This study used the survey design utilizing both quantitative and qualitative data and the mixed method model. 345 international students, 6 heads of ISLCs and 15 representatives of CBTOs were sampled from a target population of 2890 respondents. Open and close ended questionnaire, an interview guide and a focus group discussion were used to collect data. Pretesting was done to reduce errors on the variables. Validity of factor loadings >0.5 were accepted and a Cronbach alpha coefficient of >0.7 was accepted for the reliability of the questionnaire. Data was analyzed through descriptive statistics, Chi-square, other cross tabulations and regression. Data was presented through tables, charts, graphs and qualitative reporting. The response rate for questionnaires was 330 at 95.7%, 6 interview guides at 100% and 12 focus group discussions at 86.7%. The first null hypothesis was rejected after Chi-square tests were carried out on 12 consumer factors where; 11 factors yielded P<0.05. The second null hypothesis was also rejected when a summary crosstab was generated on the understanding of sustainable tourism by educational tourists at 0.019 (P<0.05) on the average rate of responses from the social-cultural, economic and environmental impacts. The respondents felt that the activity options available influenced the understanding of sustainable tourism environment as indicated by the impacts on the environment at 0.029 (P<0.05) and the economic impacts at 0.301 (P>0.05). A regression model indicated the P-value for the model was 0.000 (P<0.05). This study concludes that the consumer behaviour of international students is significant in determining the choice of destination by the students. Strong policies should govern sustainable tourism practices. Kenya‟s institutions of higher learning should improve and increase the hostel capacity within its campuses. Tourism as a course should be incorporated in all levels of study curricular in Kenya.