Ozi's Bed and Breakfast a Case of Translation
Duim, René van der
Marwijk, Ramona van
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Following actor-network theory, this paper analyses the way a tourism entrepreneur called Ozi tried to collectively promote Malindi (Kenya) as a tourist destination by adopting information and communication technology (ICT). Ozi started his business, Ozi's Bed and Breakfast, in 1985. After a successful start, ethnic violence in the coast region in 1997 and subsequent negative publicity, crumbling infrastructure and inadequate marketing led to a decline in tourist numbers in Kenya in general and at Ozi's Bed and Breakfast in particular. To overcome these drawbacks, Ozi took the initiative to join forces with other entrepreneurs to promote Malindi cooperatively using ICT. However, to translate ICT into the network of Malindi's tourism entrepreneurs a lot of (new) actors and entities had to be enrolled in the network. This paper shows how the introduction of ICT, just like any other new technological development, unfolds alongside social, political and economic dynamics. Poor telecommunication links, conflicts of interests, inadequate information management and sharing, poor relations between key stakeholders, and lack of trust and investors are just a few of the factors explaining the failure of the project. In other words, the entrepreneurs in Malindi were not yet able to fine-tune their activities to create convergence that will enable the collective use of ICT to promote Malindi and themselves. The case study illustrates the obstacles small entrepreneurs encounter in effectively introducing ICT in tourism, as well as the complex ways tourism unfolds as the result of processes of ordering, negotiation, representation and displacement between actors, entities and places.