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The Factors Influencing Individuals/Groups to Undertake Tours: The Case of Selected Individuals in Mombasa County

Introduction

Tourism in Kenya is one of the largest source of foreign exchange, only second to Agriculture. The main attractions are wildlife, athletes, game reserves and beautiful sceneries in Kenya. Mombasa County is one of the leading tourist attraction areas in Kenya both by locals and foreigners. Lee Jolliffe, in her book Tea and Tourism: Tourists, Traditions and Transformations, argues that Kenyan tourism hasn’t developed on its conservation of natural resources, though “beach tourism, eco-tourism, cultural tourism, sports tourism all form part of the portfolio” (Jolliffe, 2007). Kenya won the Best Leisure Destination award at the World Travel Fair in Shanghai, China, in April 2008. The permanent secretary in Kenya’s Ministry of Tourism, Rebecca Nabutola, stated that the award “goes to testify that Kenya has a unique world acclaimed tourism product. The recognition will no doubt boost Kenya’s tourism and enhance its profile as a leading tourist destination.” Mombasa County is one of the 47 newly created counties in Kenya comprising: Changamwe, Jomvu, Kisauni, Nyali, Likoni and Mvita constituencies with the major town being Mombasa Town which is the second largest town in Kenya.

Mombasa is an important tourism center due to its vast diversity of culture, beaches, old towns, hotels and restaurants, wildlife and economic activity. Mombasa is the original Arabic name for Mombasa and this city has an average population of about 1 million people. Mombasa is a place rich in history, yet at the same time fascinating commercial and cosmopolitan port town. Mombasa is an island connected to the mainland by bridges and ferries. The town overlooks a wide harbor, where commercial shipping mingles with traditional sailing dhows. The true heart of Mombasa is found in the exotic old town, among the narrow winding streets and Arab architecture (Magical Kenya, 2015). This paper will focus on factors affecting decision making by tourist by using Mombasa County as the case study. 

Statement of the problem

Due to her high touristic potential and capacity, Mombasa’s tourism represents a fast growing sector of the economy. All over the region and the world at large, Mombasa represents an important attractive destination for many tourists who still consider it as a world prototype; consequently, the high demand has been increasing from one year to another. This strategic sector, however, still has to deal with: the large capital required to invest in this sector, poor government support, low level of technology in the country, poor infrastructure, lack of social services, diseases and natural calamities, expensive tourism facilities which may scare tourists away, environmental pollution, encroachment, terrorism and kidnapping of tourists. The Government should play the key role here by formulating legislation that support tourism and provide both financial and marketing support to curb the tourism menace.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to develop an understanding of how different factors can influence individuals/groups to visit a tourism location. https://iacademicessay.com/2021/06/01/im-working-on-a-art-discussion-question-and-need-an-explanation-to-help-me-lear/ This is achieved through studying scenarios of tourism from different parts of the world. The extensive review of literature, including any article or book related to tourism for a wide base of research and better understanding of the topic. The study focuses on finding out the different factors identified in relevant literature as being significant to the choice of tourist destinations by tourists by using Mombasa as a case study. Through a study of each of these factors and the interdependent relationships that concomitantly developed among these factors, an understanding of what happens in the real world is explored.

Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study is to come up with as many factors as possible on the forces that affect the tourist choices and how the negative factors can be remedied. The study tries to steer learning and sense making aptitudes in translating social, authoritative and individual impacts identified with tourism. The objective incorporates looking at oblivious and cognizant thinking processes by tourists in settings that identify with tourism in Mombasa County.

Research questions

Is the Government doing enough to support tourism in Kenya? What services are available for visitors? Are there Budget-friendly options in the area? What sets Mombasa County apart from other similar locations? What economic factors affect tourism in the region? How safe is the country? The research question were not limited to these questions, these questions were meant as a guide as to what the researcher required out of the research. 

Literature Review

The study viewed a large number of literature resources that are concerned with tourism of different parts of the world and the factor that affect different tourism destinations. The study used empirical-based research reports, academic and non-academic research reports to increase the area of research. 

Regardless of the importance of destination marking in both the educated community and industry, literature on its calculated improvement is limited. An extraordinary image is a segment of destination brand affiliations. The general picture/image of the destination is a go-between its image/brand affiliations (i.e., subjective and emotional) and visitors’ future practices (i.e., expectations to return to and recommend to others). General image is affected by brand affiliations and is a basic go between brand affiliations and travelers’ future practices. Distinctive systems can be sought after to accomplish more prominent name acknowledgment among potential guests. Usually, this includes focusing on potential guests to a territory. Marketing is an important factor in ensuring a tourist destination is known to the world. 

Tourism destinations and their individual tourism organizations are all competing for the uses and essentialness that sightseers convey to their separate areas. Yet, in settling on travel decisions, these vacationers have contemplations other than distance, cost and timing. They are additionally considering the everyday climate and other atmosphere elements while deciding both where to go and the degree to which they making the most of their travel experience. Tourism companies are using climate change as a marketing tool, offering to take people to places endangered by global warming or with species on the verge of extinction (TreeHugger, 2015). Tourist will tend to avoid areas that have adverse weather conditions that will affect their visit while at the same time they would like to experience a hotter or colder climate with respect to their native land.  https://getacademicessay.com/5542/i%e2%80%8c%e2%80%8d%e2%80%8d%e2%80%8d%e2%80%8c%e2%80%8d%e2%80%8d%e2%80%8c%e2%80%8c%e2%80%8d%e2%80%8d%e2%80%8d%e2%80%8c%e2%80%8d%e2%80%8d%e2%80%8d%e2%80%8d%e2%80%8c%e2%80%8d%e2%80%8d-want-to-do-assignm/

Family travelers liked to stay at hotel facilities giving items and services particularly intended to take into account family vacationers, including rebates for youngsters’ stay, a swimming pool with lifeguard, and discount packages for families (Yang, Wong & Wang, 2012). National hotel chains as of now presented additional huge rooms, furnished with all the more bed options to cater for family vacationers. Despite the fact that it is vital to fathom the business sector pattern and to create tourism items and services because of the pattern, powerful tourism advertising will be expanded when industry specialists see what buyers need from their get-away as well as how purchasers settle on their travel choices.

Long & Nuckolls (1994) underscore the need for effective planning and stress that technical assistance can prove crucial to tourism development success for many small communities with limited resources. In numerous communities, tourism serves as an imperative contributor to the nearby, regional, and national economies, and now and again is a noteworthy patron to domestic economic income. Since security episodes may have a noteworthy negative effect on these economies, such occurrences are regularly a reason for real sympathy toward nearby, regional, and national governments. 

McDaniel’s (2001) article of southwestern Virginia, which highlights the tourism potential of the region’s scenic and abundant recreational activities, is an emphasis on the importance of heritage and history in tourism. Heritage tourism alludes to recreation travel that has involves visiting historical places. A main worry of heritage tourism is verifiable genuineness and long haul maintainability of the historical location or object. Apart from heritage tourism, another type of tourism is eco-tourism which is concerned with the conservation of the natural environment and the wildlife. The third form of tourism is the agri-tourism where an individual can visit a destination purposefully for agricultural purpose. 

To better understand the supply-side development of sport tourism Kurtzman & Zauhar, (2005) have identified five major areas: attractions, resorts, cruises, tours, and events. Sport tourism visits takes tourists to their most loved game occasion or destination across the globe. The sport tourism can either be organized by an entity for its members or it can be self guided. 

Gil-Pareja, Llorca-Vivero & Martínez-Serrano (2007) argue that the Euro has induced effects also on the expansion of business tourism as a consequence of the positive impact of the EMU on trade creation. Tourism sector is highly dependent on both macro and microeconomic factors of a country. A high inflation rate like in Zimbabwe is likely to scare tourists away because of the increased prices of goods and services. The tax and exchange rates of a country should be favorable for a country to attract tourists’ especially international ones. 

The safety and security in the tourism industry has been identified as one of the forces causing changes in the tourism sector in the new millennium (Edgell et al., 2008). Security reasons are among the high ranking reasons why a tourist would decide to visit a destination or not. Over the recent past, countries have been issuing travel bans to their citizens due to issues of insecurity and political stability. Security does not only involve personal safety of tourists and their property, but it includes an ability to become oriented in an alien environment, understand the local system of signs, indications, and social conventions, and finally the security of shopping and consumer services (Popescu, 2011). 

Buhalis & Deimezi (2003) suggests that e-tourism reflects the digitization of all processes and value chains in the tourism, travel, hospitality and catering industries. To increase efficiency in the tourism sector, tourism destinations have been able to integrate innovative and technological systems such as computer reservation systems to boost convenience in tourism. Technology has reduced the world into a global village where people can interact from different parts of the world at the comfort of their living room. Technology has enabled tourist to seek information they want online, book reservations and also transact cash electronically. Some of the concepts used in e-tourism include e-marketing, e-procurement and e-finance. 

Research Design

The research adopted qualitative study mainly because the subject matter of the research is more concerned with behavioral science rather than the number of tourists visiting different destinations. The qualitative approach is important because of the collection of data from individuals who previously visited Kenya and especially Mombasa and have firsthand information of the natural setting. The qualitative approach will assist in obtaining in-depth information about the factors affecting the behaviors of tourists in choosing a tourist destination. 

Qualitative research is used as an exploratory tool that is used to find in-depth insights on a particular phenomenon, and it is important for obtaining new ideas (Bryman, 2007). There is scattered information about decision making process by tourists therefore a qualitative study can be helpful in gathering information on the topic. A quantitative approach would not be desirable in this research because there is no statistical hypothesis that needs to be validated. Qualitative studies are used to determine the characteristic behaviors and emotions of people. Qualitative research is flexible when it comes to carry out a research therefore it can assist in obtain in-depth information on tourist decision making. It will be important to use semi-structured methods of data collection and analysis to cover the different areas in the research. 

The use of qualitative research in this study is desirable because behavioral coding can be used to convert qualitative data into quantitative data, but it would be difficult to convert quantitative data into qualitative data. The main disadvantage of using quantitative approach in this study is the inability of the approach to reach many participants to gather a lot of information on the topic. The study has targeted tourist who have gone to Mombasa; this will be a difficult task to find them in order to reduce biasness in the results desired. Quantitative approach has the capacity to obtain a lot of information in a short period of time, and it is cost-effective (Bryman, 2006). 

The target population of this study will be individuals who have been in Mombasa Kenya as tourists. There are many people who have visited Mombasa, but it is difficult for the researcher to locate them in a certain geographical area. Therefore random sampling could not be possible, the participants were chosen on the basis of “whoever is available.” The research targeted thirty individuals who had visited the country in at least the past ten years. The research also targeted corporate trips and family trips to the country. The relatively small sized population n=30 was chosen because of time, labour and financial constraints. 

Research Method

The data collection instruments used for this study include questionnaires, interviews, and study documentation. To increase the scope of research, the researcher had to email most of the participants the questionnaires; information was also sought through email from reputable resorts and restaurants in Mombasa, and direct interviews were carried out to individuals who could be available for face to face interview with the researcher. Interviews were also carried out through phone and Skype due to geographic challenge.

Interviews

Semi-structured interviews were employed in the studies that questioned the participants through phone calls, Skype and face to face interaction. The face to face interviews were more informative because the researcher could ask follow up questions and clarification without being concerned with time. The questions that were asked were not leading and were meant to find meaning to the aspects that affect tourism destination decision making. The interview served the purpose of narrating a lived experience in the tourist destination by looking at the whole experience in different context e.g., cultural and social contexts. The interview objective was to uncover new insights and understanding of the phenomenon under study. The interaction with the interviewee will help understand the behavior under study in its natural setting. 

Interview is an important data collection instrument in eliciting the meaning of behavioral elements and experiences. A data-rich in meaning would be provided by the interviewees by narrating their experiences as stories, the researcher ensured that the interview was casual as possible. The interviewer/researcher would record the interviewee and also take important notes from the interviewee’s experience in Mombasa. An interview guide was constructed that was in line with the research objectives and research questions. The interview was intended to be flexible and cover the subject matter widely. The interviewees were asked to narrate their experience in Mombasa and determine areas of weakness and strength in the destinations, follow up questions were used to reinforce their stance. 

Questionnaires

Questionnaires were used purposefully to cover more grounds where interview could not cover. All the questionnaires were sent through email. The research used semi-structured questionnaires that guided the participants on the desired results. The questions in the questionnaires were aligned with those of the interviews by requiring the participants to just outline their experiences, the destination strength and weaknesses. The questionnaires were simple enough to prevent instances of rejection by the participants due to complexity. The questionnaires were cost effective and ensured a wide population was reached within a short period of time (Langley, 2004). 

Study documentation

The study utilized online resources and journals that were up to date to seek more information of Mombasa as a tourist destination. The online resources provided insightful information about Mombasa like the Hotels and Restaurants available, the infrastructure, the beaches, culture and heritage, and tourist sites that can be visited (One of the sites is http://www.mombasa.com/v/attractions/). An example of an insightful journal is “Journal of Sustainable Tourism.” Study documentations exuded partiality and biasness because they only looked at the positive aspects of the tourist destination. 

Data Analysis

The data collection instruments were insightful in obtaining data that could be merged and transformed into useful information. The researcher studied the feedback from the questionnaires, notes and interviews recordings, and the study documentation to come up with a comprehensive analysis of the phenomenon under study. The researcher analyzed the data in reference with the literature review for guidance and understanding. The researcher first transcribed the data before organizing it. Open coding was carried out first where data with similar text were coded together; this was followed by axial coding, which involved coding the open coded data according to concepts presented in the interviews and questionnaires.  

Most of the participants thought that the Kenyan Shilling was relatively weak compared to other currencies, and the inflation rate was a little bit high, which had an impact on their choice of this destination. But it was noticeable that most of them viewed Kenya as not having many tourism taxes, which may be an incentive to attract more tourists. The majority of the tourists thought that the prices of basic commodities had hiked over the past five years. Even though most participants acknowledged the government’s participation through the Kenya Tourism Board, a few believed that the government hadn’t done enough, and were it not for the private sector pro-activeness, the tourism sector in Kenya would have been way behind. Most of them viewed the government as having failed in terms of strategies and plans when it comes to tourism.

The participants stated that Mombasa is popularly known out there. Most of them said they learnt about it through the social media. When it came to marketing, the majority believed that Mombasa was not adequately marketed out there, and they blamed it mainly on the lack of government participation and lack of technological know-how. Athletics topped the list when it came to sport tourism, Kenya is a home of athletic talent, and many would go there to see them run. Other sports that would make tourists visit Kenya are Rugby, Safari rally and Cricket. Scuba diving is also found in Mombasa. Many supporters of Soccer were disappointed by the sorry state of the sport in the country. 

Kenya fairs poorly when it comes to technology in the tourism sector. The Tourism Board of Kenya has tried to improve creativity in the sector but still is not up to the standards that the tourists had anticipated. Some of the technology that the foreign tourists suggested includes: collaborative filtering, personalization software/profiling, knowledge-based software and online word of mouth (WOM). The climate and topography of Mombasa is amazing. The climate is wet and dry. The geography of Mombasa is not hilly and has features to admire like the exfoliation domes. Mombasa has only had few cases of weather related calamities such as the tsunami. 

Mombasa ranks as one of the best tourism sites in terms of hospitality and culture. Most of the hotels were exquisite with great services and hospitality. The diversity of culture was also an attraction factor with the different ethnic groups, different languages, dances, music, food, attires and more. Most of the tourist marvel at what Mombasa holds when it comes to heritage. The town is rich in history from how the town was conquered by the Sultan of Oman to how the old town developed. Tourist love to visit sites like Fort Jesus that was built by the Portuguese in the 14th century, and it still stands up to date. Apart from the Hotels and Restaurants, the infrastructure of the country is not well developed, especially the roads. The roads would cause inconvenience when it came to maneuvering around the country.

When it comes to a tourist destination, no other factor ranks better than security and safety. A country with eye catching sceneries, developed infrastructure, rich heritage, well marketed, etc will not attract any tourists if it is not secure. Kenya has seen a reduction in the number of tourists since their disputed election that was carried out in 2007, which left more than 1,000 people dead and more than 200,000 people internally displaced. The country has been rocked with insecurity challenges since then such as the Al-Shabaab extremist group. 

Conclusion

In summary, there are various factors that would affect the decision making process of any tourist wanting to visit any tourist destination site. In reference to the study, the decisions are affected by security and safety, hospitality and culture, history and heritage, attraction sites, technology, media and marketing, sports, economic factors such as taxes and exchange rates, climate and geography, and infrastructure and services. A tourist would choose a tourism destination that is rich in culture, has political stability and has good security. The tourists will avoid locations with high taxes related to tourism and poor infrastructural development and services. A tourist will refer others to a destination where they received great hospitality, saw great sceneries and, have rich history and heritage.