Impediments to Educationaccess Andretention in Public Secondary Schools in Tana River County, Kenya
Gitau, Treza Waithera
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Destination competitiveness and factors that influence it has attracted interest among researchers recently. Among them is place identity which to date there exists no place brand identity that is universally accepted. The purpose of this study was to determine the Influence of place identity on the competitiveness of Machakos County as a tourist destination. Specific objectives of this study were to determine the Influence of visitor profile, to investigate the influence of visitor place identity perceptions, to examine the effect of visitor self-efficacy on destination competitiveness and to determine the moderating effect of tourism infrastructure on the relationship between place identity and destination competitiveness of Machakos County. This study was based on two theories: The Destination Competitiveness theory and the Breakwell‟s Identity Process Model. A cross-sectional descriptive research design was used in this study using questionnaires as the research instruments.317 visitors who patronized products and services of 202 registered tourism enterprises in Machakos Sub-County were randomly sampled for this study. Reliability of the research instruments was estimated using Cronbach‟s Alpha Coefficient. Descriptive statistics; correlation and regression (simple and multiple) were employed and for inferential statistics; Chi Square, T-Test and ANOVA were used. Correlation results indicated that Place Identity perceptions (r=0.577, p=0.000<0.05), Visitor self-efficacy (r=0.656, p=0.00<0.05) and Tourism Infrastructure (r=0.684, p=0.000<0.05) were positively and significantly associated to destination competitiveness. T-test results showed that visitor profile was significant with destination competitiveness except gender (p=0.624) and marital status of visitors. (p=0.806). The regression of coefficients results indicated that place identity and destination competitiveness was positively and significant related (β=0.589, p=0.000). Visitor self -efficacy and destination competitiveness was positively and significant related (β=0. 0.672, p=0.000). When moderated by tourism infrastructure, age (β=0.021, p=0.000), education level (β=0.0518, p=0.000), reason for travel (β=0.077, p=0.000), means of transport (β=0.113, p=0.000) were positively and significantly related with destination competitiveness. Further, the multiple regression indicated that place identity perception (β=0.032, p=0.015) and visitor self-efficacy (β=0.057, p=0.000) was negatively and significantly related with destination competitiveness. Reason for visit and destination competitiveness was positively and significant related (β=0.309, p=0.026). Place Identity perception and destination competitiveness was positively and significant related (β =0.119, p=0.046). Self-Efficacy and destination competitiveness was positively and significant related (β=0.155, p=0.030).Tourism infrastructure and destination competitiveness was positively and significant related (β=0. 524, p=0.000). All the null hypotheses were rejected and the alternative hypotheses adopted. The study recommended that DMOs should ensure that their product is customized to match varying visitor profiles especially in regards to age of visitors, level of education and the reason of their visit. They should integrate their marketing efforts with visitor opinions and perceptions about a place. Moreover, they should work towards increasing visitor efficacy before visit, while at destination and after leaving as this would significantly increase their sense of belonging and in turn increase chances of their return. Further research can be carried out on other stakeholder groups like host community, the Government or even NGOs. It can also be conducted on other branded counties in Kenya. In conclusion, this study confirmed that visitors have the ability to contribute towards the identity of a place in terms of their age and reasons for visit, their perceptions about place and their self-efficacy in relation to the destination they visit or aspire to visit.