Tourism in Kenya
Kenya is a leading tourism destination in the world. It has fascinating wildlife, biodiversity, and culture. Kenya stands out with its tourism features, like the tropical beaches, savannahs, coral reefs, snow-capped mountains, and dense equatorial forests (Busch 45). As a leading tourism destination point, Kenya attracts adventurers and explorers from all over the world.
Kenya has witnessed massive growth in tourism in the last two years. It has registered higher volumes of tourists, owing to increased movements across the country. The tourism sector accounted for 11% of the country’s GDP. It offers 18% of employment opportunities in the country. With stiff competition in air travel, Kenya’s leading carrier, Kenya Airways, KQ, has improved its efficiency and customer satisfaction. Kenya’s target is to among top ten tourist destination sites in the world (Busch 47). In recent years, Kenya has stepped up its international flights, with plans underway to have direct connection from Nairobi to New York. Today, many locals and tourists have access to air travel in Kenya. The government is also expanding air travel infrastructure nationwide to meet the ever-increasing demand for airlines. Upon realization of this dream, local and international tourists will access different parts of the country with ease.
Current Issues Affecting Tourism in Kenya
While Kenya remains a major tourism player, it faces a range of challenges. The first problem is massive destruction of wildlife. Cases of poaching are rampant in Kenya. Most poachers kill wild animals for their meat, horns and hides. Illegal trade of ivory remains a threat to rhinos and elephants in the country (Gatimu 56). This issue is thicker owing to the fact that some top politicians in the country have been linked to the illegal trade in wildlife products.
The second problem is inadequate investment capital. Kenya has limited resources like labor and land to expand the tourism sector. In addition, the government does not support the industry fully, making it hard to grow. Over the years, the government has not taken a front lead to woo locals to invest in tourism (Kimathi 56).
Poor infrastructure furthers hinders tourism development in Kenya. For example, some attraction sites in the country are inaccessible because of poor roads (Kimathi 56). Besides this, Kenya’s political landscape is delicate yet tourism thrives in a politically stable environment. A case in point, the 2007 disputed presidential elections hit the country’s tourism sectors as visitors avoided the country because of violence. However, the government has stepped up efforts to win back tourists from other parts of the world.
Natural disasters like hurricanes and floods also affect Kenya’s tourism. Most tourists shy off and avoid Kenya whenever there are such calamities. The country also suffers tribalism, which creates a volatile environment, characterised by violence and high tension. These ethnic clashes add no value to the country’s tourism sector as other countries regard Kenya as insecure (Jones and Claire 65).
Kenya also suffers shortage of social services like modern hospitals, sports and other recreational facilities. Since most tourist attraction sites are in remote areas, they are far from available services. This discourages tourists from touring such places (Laws, Bruce and Chon 43). According to Country Report (45), Kenya is technologically challenged to compete with global tourism leaders. Most of the remote tourist attraction sites lack internet, mobile network, TV and radio coverage, which put off visitors. High population also weighs negatively on Kenya’s tourism sector. Because of high population, there is competition of resources like land, leading to encroachment of reserved areas like forests and grasslands. As a result, Kenya registers high level of Human-wildlife conflict in the world.
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Busch, S. “Mall Attack another Blow to Kenya’s Tourism Industry” CNN, 24 Sep 2013.
Country Report. “Travel and Tourism in Kenya” Travel and Tourism, 22 Dec 2012: 44-47.
Gatimu, Simon. N. N. Tourism in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda: Grounded Theory Development. New Jersey: ProQuest, 2007.
Jones, Eleri, and Claire Haven-Tang. Tourism SMEs, Service Quality, and Destination Competitiveness. London: CABI, 2005.
Kimathi, Teddy. My personal critical Review concerning Slum Tourism in Kenya. London: GRIN Verlag, 2013.
Laws, Eric, Bruce Prideaux, and Chon, Kaye. S. Crisis Management in Tourism. New York: CABI, 2007.
Martin, Gill. “Wildlife, wonder and why tourism can help Kenya emerge from the shadow of terrorism Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2451320/Wildlife-wonder-tourism-help-Kenya-emerge-shadow-terrorism.html#ixzz2jgBLao5x Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook” Mail Online 14 Oct 2013.