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From a destination development perspective, what six lessons can destination Kenya learn from

the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and the USA in development efforts (In relation to tourism)
Concept of destination development perspective

Tourism, as a method of development, provides opportunities to develop tourism destinations in places
where tourism attractions and resources, and comparative and competitive advantages exist. Although
Kenya was recently ranked as the second most popular destination in Africa, it still has a lot to learn
from United Arab Emirates, Singapore and USA in its development efforts in tourism. Some of the
important lessons to be learnt by Kenya are as follows;

1. Language Learning
For a long time, Kenyans have been contented in learning mother tongue, English and Kiswahili as
opposed to UAE, USA and Singapore who have embraced language diversity. Kenyans have assumed
that with the three languages and mostly English, they are home and dry with job related and social
communication. The government has in fact entrenched this notion because there is no school policy
requiring the learning of a second international language for Kenyan students. In addition, Kenyans have
mainly commercially and socially interacted with countries that speak English as a result of the initial
British colonization. Kenya being an important tourism destination in the world owing to her open door
policy, natural wealth in terms of geography, vegetation and wildlife as well as a rich cultural heritage.
The Great Rift Valley is a geographical phenomenon that many come to see from all over the world. In
this respect, Kenyans should learn a third language for instance French in order to effectively transact
business with citizens of the two French speaking nations.
Further, another reason why Kenyans must be highly multilingual is that the country is host to a
multitude of United Nations organizations, diplomatic missions and international non-governmental
organizations. Kenya also holds many conferences and sports events every year. Multilingual

communication is therefore important in job creation. Therefore, the best strategy for multilingualism is
to start with the national languages English and Kiswahili. The next two languages should be French and
Arabic followed by Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese. Specifically, in the tourism industry,
German and Italian would be good to learn. Russian would be a good bet for those wishing to work with
the United Nations or in Eastern Europe. Consequently, by learning at least two more languages in
addition to English and Kiswahili, a Kenyan would be well set to communicate effectively not only with
fellow Africans but also with a large proportion of the world population hence impacting positively in
the tourism industry.

2. Stability
Singapore being a leading tourist destinations in Asia, Kenya has a lot to learn from Singapore since it is
highly developed in terms of tourism. It is one of the most popular business destinations for businessmen
because of the well-established economy but also because of its centralized location which is accessible
for all. Due to the rich economy, it attracts even more investors to start their business in Singapore which
would help boost its economy. Apart from the economic advantage, Singapore is not only considered as
one of the safest countries but also a cosmopolitan one because of the different races living in harmony.
Particularly, stability in Singapore is one of the points why tourist comes to Singapore.
As opposed to Kenya, riots and protesting are not allowed in Singapore, those found rioting and
protesting are heavily penalized. As a result Kenya should institute stringent measures to curb acts such
as riots and protests which in most cases taints the overall image of a country and discourages potential
tourists from visiting. Also, crime rates are low compared to other countries. Further, in Singapore,
different races live together harmoniously hence tourists of all kinds would feel at ease when coming to
Singapore as they know they are safe from any discrimination or racial chaos. In terms of political
factors, there are many strict rules and regulations in order to maintain law and order within the country,
so as to secure a peaceful mind for tourists. Singapore has a squad called the Public Transport Security
Command to patrol the transports to ensure the safety and security of the public transport system and its

3. Biological Diversity
In Kenya, large-scale tourism has had detrimental effects on biodiversity, including coral reefs, coastal
wetlands, arid and semi-arid ecosystems and mountainous areas. Coral ecosystems have suffered strong
negative impacts from the use of coral for construction materials for hotels, over-fishing of reefs to feed
tourists, sewage dumping and sedimentation from improperly managed runoff from buildings and
parking lots. Coastal wetlands, particularly mangroves, have routinely been damaged or destroyed to
build beach resorts. In arid and semi-arid ecosystems, golf courses and other water-intensive activities
have lowered water tables affecting local fauna and flora. The failure to incorporate biodiversity
concerns in destination planning and investment has had detrimental effects on the natural environment,
increased conflict with local communities, and lead to reduced value creation potential for both the
destination and investors.

Particularly in the United States of America, USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency)
was instituted to protect human health and the environment and has made considerable efforts towards
enhancing sustainable tourism. It has addressed\ the issue of pollution, marine pollution and climate
change through advocating the reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions. Further, the executive order
entitled Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance (2009) signed by
President Obama focused on energy efficiency, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, improved usage
of water resources, and minimization of waste production hence accelerating efforts towards reducing
the negative environmental impacts. Finally, Within the Department of Interior, several agencies are
supporting sustainable tourism development through conserving the scenery and the natural and historic

objects and the wildlife therein so that there is enjoyment of the same in such manner by future

From the foregoing, it is necessary for Kenya to heighten development of national parks and wildlife
corridors, regulation of access to fragile areas, protection of indigenous species and pest controls. Also,
reduction of carbon emissions remains a priority in the tourism sector, both by using energy more
efficiently and by increasing the use of renewable sources of energy. Alongside this, there is also scope
for use of voluntary biodiversity friendly carbon offset mechanisms with accredited verification
procedures for carbon emissions reductions achieved through these mechanisms. Similarly, Planning and
development control are critically important for preventing overexploitation of natural resources. In
addition, simple operational measures are available to help existing tourism businesses to reduce the
pressures they place on natural resources. Finally, negative impacts of tourism can be reduced by various
simple measures, including planning controls to protect key biodiversity sites and sensitive areas from
tourism development, use of environmental management practices to reduce waste levels and to properly
treat and dispose of remaining wastes, implementation of sustainable purchasing schemes to only
purchase supplies from sustainable sources, and management of tour groups to minimize disturbance of

4. Gender Equality, Involving Women in Tourism

Tourism provides significant opportunities for womens advancement through formal, informal, and
supply-chain employment. Particularly in Kenya, tourism can raise demand for local products and
services, create investment and entrepreneurial opportunities, and improve transportation, infrastructure,
and utilities. As much as tourism is beneficial to women, there has been little involvement of women in
tourism compared to developed countries such as the United States of America. Particularly in Kenya,
women are less likely to be in top managerial positions in five-star hotels and resorts; they are more
likely to reach the top in smaller hotels. The barriers to women advancement include gender
discrimination, relationships at work, lack of mentor support and lack of network access.
There are a number of lesson that Kenya can learn from the USA in terms of women involvement in
tourism. For instance, the tourism sector has low barrier to entry and is more likely to employ more

women and minority groups than other industries.






opportunities best suited for women such as in handicrafts, food products, tour guiding and many other
areas. Also, tourism offers part-time and shift work that can be helpful to women with household
responsibilities. Therefore, as women become leaders, employers, business entrepreneurs, employees
and informal household laborers, tourism opportunities can lead to economic, social, cultural and
political empowerment.

Environmental Sustainability

In the United Arab Emirates, tourism accommodation, transport, events and attractions consume
significant amounts of fuel, energy and water and can impact the natural environment. Of these, air
transport is by far the largest contributor to tourism emissions, accounting for 40 per cent of the sectors
contribution to CO2 emissions globally. The introduction of low cost carrier airlines in UAE has
improved accessibility to flights and opened new travel markets but in turn has increased energy
consumption. As a result, the aviation sector continues to implement measures to reduce aviation
greenhouse gas emissions since tourists are increasingly seeking environmentally friendly products and
have a greater understanding of the impacts of sustainability and climate change.
In the USA there has been adoption of energy efficient practices which will assist the tourism businesses
to adapt to a carbon constrained future. In addition, it will minimize the impact of increasing energy
costs associated with the introduction of the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. There is a
growing global trend emphasizing environmental sustainability across all mainstream strategic planning
and policy. The tourism sector is no exception with a number of national and regional tourism agencies
making headway in using sustainability as a framework for all activities. As a result, Kenya should
promote and continue to enhance environmental sustainability in tourism in order to assist businesses to
become more sustainable and provide advice to regional organizations on engaging with tourism
businesses on sustainability matters, including climate change.

6 Cultural Heritage

Interest in unique cultures in Kenya by tourists can result in negative impacts and severe disruptions for
communities. There are examples of communities overrun by large numbers of visitors,
commercialization of traditions, and threats to cultural survival from unplanned and unmanaged tourism.
Tourism destinations are occasionally built by outsiders (usually with government approval) in areas that
indigenous or traditional communities consider to be theirs, and where the development was neither
desired nor locally validated. These situations lead to conflicts that make cooperation and mutual
benefits nearly impossible to achieve, and instil animosities that negatively affect the local communities
and the tourism destination. In most cases, cultural issues overlap and are aggravated by environmental
issues such as access to water, coastal resources, and wildlife. Over the last two decades, with the
growth in ecotourism and alternative travel, tourism impacts on vulnerable cultures has begun to be
taken seriously by the tourism industry, governments, non-governmental organizations, and the cultural
groups involved.
Some of the important lessons that Kenya can learn from destination UAE and USA in relation to
cultural heritage is that local initiative and involvement should be enhanced. Specifically, the desire for
tourism needs to be driven by the cultural group and supported by the community. Often a respected
Elder or someone with connections outside the community may be a key initiator. Further, support by
the women in a cultural group is often critical to ensuring the success of a tourism project and its
operation. Similarly, there should be Public and private sector investment: Few vulnerable cultures will
have ready access to capital to invest in tourism. They can often contribute investment in kind by

providing labour and natural materials for construction for example. Both public and private sector
investment have helped launch tourism projects with vulnerable communities, often with an agreement
on shared responsibilities. Finally, the Governments, NGOs, and the private sector can help by advising
on the type of tourism that may be suitable to the interests and abilities of community members and
helping to build the capacity to manage tourism. In turn, these organizations need to learn about and
understand the aspirations of the vulnerable culture.

Destination competitiveness is a tool not an objective and is no guarantee for success. Discuss.

Definition of Destination Competitiveness

There is rich literature detailing the definition of Destination competitiveness, the most adapted
definition of destination competitiveness is that by Ritchie & Crouch (2003:2) which refers destination
competitiveness as a destinations ability to increase tourism expenditure, to increasingly attract visitors
while providing them with satisfying, memorable experiences, and to do so in a profitable way, while
enhancing the well-being of destination residents and preserving the natural capital of the destination for
future generations.
The unique characteristics of the tourism industry poses a challenge when it comes to measuring
competitiveness. As a result, there is need to develop indicators which reflect this since a range of
factors influence destination competitiveness, including price and non-price factors. The development of
a set of competitiveness indicators would serve as a valuable tool in identifying what aspects or factors
influence tourists in their decision to visit other countries. These aspects serve as tools and means to
achieve competitiveness within a well-structured and planned tourism destination. Although the end
result of achieving destination competitiveness might well enhance economic prosperity for residents, it
is evident that the expansion of tourism will often crowd out other economic sectors, resulting in a
change in the composition of industry rather than an expansion of economic activity.
Concept of Destination Competitiveness

Destination competitiveness is one of the best ways to create more valuable

tourism products and services for potential or current tourists so that destinations
and their communities receive social and economic benefits. Tourist destinations
and regions compete with each other for various tourist segments. However, no
two destinations are matched, or develop at the same rate. Some destinations
have an abundance of inherited, natural resources; where others may have limited
created assets, such as poor tourism-related infrastructure or other facilitating
resources. Destination competitiveness is a general concept that encompasses
price differentials coupled with exchange rate movements, productivity levels of
various components of the tourist industry or destination (Dwyer, Mistilis, Forsyth
and Rao 2001).Further, competitiveness also refers to a destinations ability to
create and integrate value-added products that sustain its resources while
maintaining market position relative to competitors (Hassan 2000).Destination
competitiveness depends on the relative ability of a destination to meet visitor
needs on various aspects of the tourism experience. According to Poon (1993), the
key principles that have to be followed if there are to be competitive is to put a
first priority on the environment, strengthen the distribution channels in the market
place and also build a dynamic private sector. Even so, the mentioned principles
are too broad and general to be meaningful to success in the tourism sector.
Destination Competitiveness as a tool not an Objective
Nature of Tourism Destinations
Before looking at the various perspectives on destination competitiveness, the unique characteristics of
the destinations should be put into consideration. In the tourism sector, destinations are some of the most
difficult entities to manage; posing many challenges to managers and marketers. As much as they are
regarded as single geographical entities, they consist of a blend of elements that culminate in the overall
destination experience, including tourism products and services, the local people and their culture, ontourism industries, governing structures that are not directly part of the tourism economy. Thus
destination competitiveness is not a guarantee for success since destinations are physical entities with a
geographical location, but also consist of a large intangible socio-cultural entity. Secondly, destinations

do not only exist in real terms, but to a great extent also exist as a perception in the minds of current
and potential tourists. Thirdly, they are affected by current as well as past events, whether these
may be real or merely fictitious occurrences. Lastly, individual destinations often expand beyond a
single space to include several destinations and locations, but are still regarded as conceptual entities.

The unique characteristics of tourism services

Services differ from goods in the sense that they are intangible, highly perishable, inseparable
(require the presence of the customer) and cannot be standardized. These characteristics require a
different perspective on many measures of competitiveness, such as market share and growth,
turnover and quality. As evidenced by Ritchie & Crouch, (2003:19), Service industries have three
modes of operating internationally:
1. The customer travels to the service
2. The service establishes operations in foreign countries
3. The service is provided remotely using information technology

These characteristics of service operations already make distribution more complex than would be the
case for consumer goods. Therefore, when considering the nature of products and services that form
part of the tourism industry for instance transportation, hospitality, attractions and travel
intermediaries, service delivery becomes even more challenging. Only a few of these products or
services would by definition fall within more than one of the three categories above, should such a
company decide to enter the international arena; thus limiting the extent to which the competitiveness
of tourism services can be measured along the lines of other service sectors.

Competitiveness can be viewed from a macro or micro perspective

As postulated by Dwyer and Kim, competitiveness can be viewed from a macro and a micro
perspective, and that individual firms and nations face different challenges and opportunities .Due to

the multiplicity of industries that need to be involved in making destinations become competitive it
is essential to look beyond rivalry among firms hence destination competitiveness will rather be
focused on a macro perspective as this will allow the inclusion of the multitude of elements that
constitute a destination.
The distinction between comparative and competitive advantage
While considering destination competitiveness, it is important to make the distinction between
comparative and competitive advantage as both present a different aspect of achieving overall
destination competitiveness. Comparative advantage is in essence




between destinations in terms of their possession of resources or the factors of

production. The way in which a destination h a s more or less of one of the other resource/s, is
referred to as factor proportions. Competitive advantage on the other hand is the destinations
ability to effectively and use or deploy these resources. Both competitiveness and comparative
advantage have to be equally considered while exploring destination competitiveness in order to
counter factor proportions that present weaknesses and to capitalize on available strengths. Thus
while aiming at destination competitiveness, a destination will have to look for a match between its
competitive strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats present in the global
tourism market.

Competitiveness is more than competitive positioning

In addition to the various considerations mentioned above, it is also important to note that
competitiveness is not the same as competitive positioning. Positioning forms part of a
destinations strategy development and is the ability to develop and communicate meaningful
differences between the offerings of the particular destination and its tourism business units, and
those of competitors serving the same target market. It is thus focused on creating a desired
perception or image in the minds of certain tourist markets.

A destination can, through the utilization of positioning tactics, promote an image of being better than
competing destinations (competitiveness), especially with regards to specific product offerings or
types of resources. This does however not mean or guarantee that the destination in its totality meets

the requirements of a sustainable, successful and competitive destination, as this entails much more
than mere perceptive judgment of potential and existing tourists.

From the above findings, it is clear that destination competitiveness is not a guarantee for
success since it is linked to the ability of a destination to deliver goods and services that
perform better than other destinations on those aspects of the tourism experience considered to
be important by tourists. In most cases, it involves a number of economic sectors thus it is not
an assurance of success. Even so, destinations require strong, committed, and effective
leadership by business, government and community leaders at all levels. A pro-active role,
rather than a passive one, is required to ensure that environmental and heritage values are fully
sustained. A sustainable tourism industry requires a commitment by all involved to sustainable
development principles at all stages of development.