International tourists perceptions of the Kenyan ethnic cuisine: a case of five star hotels in Nairobi
In the past two decades, tourism has emerged as one of the world's major industries, exceeding many manufacturing industries and other services in terms of sales, employment and foreign earnings. Many hospitality establishments in Kenya have in the recent years embraced and promoted the Kenyan Gala nights featuring particularly music and cuisine from different Kenyan ethnic communities. However, little has been done in Kenya to assess the perceptions of Kenyan ethnic cuisine by international tourists. This is instrumental in promoting the inclusion of components of gala nights particularly the ethnic cuisine in the normal restaurant menu. The study therefore, assessed the perceptions of the local cuisine by international tourists with the aim of promoting the Kenyan ethnic cuisine as a strategy towards destination branding, promoting culture tourism and increasing multiplier effects of tourism earnings. The study adopted a cross section descriptive survey design and was carried out in Nairobi city The study targeted 229 foreign tourists (adults) randomly selected and seven managers from the seven five star hotels. The study targeted 33 respondents from each hotel. Data were collected using questionnaires and interviews. Demographic characteristics and perceptions of the Kenyan ethnic cuisine was done by running Chi-square tests on SPSS and also, carried out was the multiple regression analysis in which the dependant variable was perceptions where as the independent variables were gender, age, marital status and level of education. The collected data were edited, coded, cleaned and P-values or level of significance to test reliability were also carried out. The study found out that international tourists perceived positively the Kenyan cuisine. This is because out of the total number 131 that had tasted the Kenyan cuisine, 64 percent were willing to choose the Kenyan cuisine in the menu like the other meals because of curiosity, as part of fun in traveling and that their experience after tasting the Kenyan cuisine was good. Hotels should establish priorities among the strategic moves that are likely to improve a customer's repeat purchase. They should come up with ways of improving the quality of the Kenyan ethnic cuisine while maintaining the real traditional touch and taste in it. Marketers and promoters of Tourism and Hospitality should communicate unique destination features of Kenya and this can influence tourist behavior i.e. food and drinks of the 42 tribes.