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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

In terms of political factors. Japanese and Portuguese. 2. there are many strict rules and regulations in order to maintain law and order within the country. Apart from the economic advantage. Particularly. 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. 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. so as to secure a peaceful mind for tourists. German and Italian would be good to learn. As opposed to Kenya. Also. Singapore is not only considered as one of the safest countries but also a cosmopolitan one because of the different races living in harmony. . Further. 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. riots and protesting are not allowed in Singapore. Kenya has a lot to learn from Singapore since it is highly developed in terms of tourism. Therefore. in the tourism industry. stability in Singapore is one of the points why tourist comes to Singapore. Russian would be a good bet for those wishing to work with the United Nations or in Eastern Europe. Due to the rich economy. Consequently. Specifically. Chinese. those found rioting and protesting are heavily penalized. the best strategy for multilingualism is to start with the national languages English and Kiswahili. 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 users. crime rates are low compared to other countries. Stability Singapore being a leading tourist destinations in Asia. The next two languages should be French and Arabic followed by Spanish. by learning at least two more languages in addition to English and Kiswahili. it attracts even more investors to start their business in Singapore which would help boost its economy. in Singapore.communication is therefore important in job creation. 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.

the executive order entitled ‘Federal Leadership in Environmental. increased conflict with local communities. In arid and semi-arid ecosystems. sewage dumping and sedimentation from improperly managed runoff from buildings and parking lots. Finally. Within the Department of Interior. large-scale tourism has had detrimental effects on biodiversity. Particularly in the United States of America. over-fishing of reefs to feed tourists. Further. golf courses and other water-intensive activities have lowered water tables affecting local fauna and flora. marine pollution and climate change through advocating the reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions. particularly mangroves. Coral ecosystems have suffered strong negative impacts from the use of coral for construction materials for hotels. coastal wetlands. The failure to incorporate biodiversity concerns in destination planning and investment has had detrimental effects on the natural environment. reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.3. Coastal wetlands. arid and semi-arid ecosystems and mountainous areas. including coral reefs. It has addressed\ the issue of pollution. and Economic Performance’ (2009) signed by President Obama focused on energy efficiency. several agencies are supporting sustainable tourism development through conserving the scenery and the natural and historic . and minimization of waste production hence accelerating efforts towards reducing the negative environmental impacts. improved usage of water resources. and lead to reduced value creation potential for both the destination and investors. Energy. Biological Diversity In Kenya. have routinely been damaged or destroyed to build beach resorts. USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) was instituted to protect human health and the environment and has made considerable efforts towards enhancing sustainable tourism.

The barriers to women advancement include gender discrimination. it is necessary for Kenya to heighten development of national parks and wildlife corridors. Planning and development control are critically important for preventing overexploitation of natural resources. From the foregoing. and utilities. they are more likely to reach the top in smaller hotels. lack of mentor support and lack of network access.objects and the wildlife therein so that there is enjoyment of the same in such manner by future generations. Also. use of environmental management practices to reduce waste levels and to properly treat and dispose of remaining wastes. Similarly. both by using energy more efficiently and by increasing the use of renewable sources of energy. For instance. tourism can raise demand for local products and services. informal. reduction of carbon emissions remains a priority in the tourism sector. Gender Equality. There are a number of lesson that Kenya can learn from the USA in terms of women involvement in tourism. protection of indigenous species and pest controls. implementation of sustainable purchasing schemes to only purchase supplies from sustainable sources. and management of tour groups to minimize disturbance of wildlife. As much as tourism is beneficial to women. Involving Women in Tourism Tourism provides significant opportunities for women’s advancement through formal. 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. Finally. Particularly in Kenya. and improve transportation. including planning controls to protect key biodiversity sites and sensitive areas from tourism development. and supply-chain employment. infrastructure. simple operational measures are available to help existing tourism businesses to reduce the pressures they place on natural resources. relationships at work. Alongside this. In addition. negative impacts of tourism can be reduced by various simple measures. Particularly in Kenya. there has been little involvement of women in tourism compared to developed countries such as the United States of America. the tourism sector has low barrier to entry and is more likely to employ more . women are less likely to be in top managerial positions in five-star hotels and resorts. create investment and entrepreneurial opportunities. regulation of access to fragile areas. 4.

In the USA there has been adoption of energy efficient practices which will assist the tourism businesses to adapt to a carbon constrained future. Of these. As a result. employees and informal household laborers. tour guiding and many other areas. social. In addition. accounting for 40 per cent of the sector’s contribution to CO2 emissions globally. events and attractions consume significant amounts of fuel. Therefore. Also. 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. 5 Environmental Sustainability In the United Arab Emirates. 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. 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. There is a growing global trend emphasizing environmental sustainability across all mainstream strategic planning and policy. Further. including climate change. food products. .women and minority groups than other industries. tourism opportunities can lead to economic. air transport is by far the largest contributor to tourism emissions. 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. as women become leaders. tourism accommodation. cultural and political empowerment. it has home-grown entrepreneurship opportunities best suited for women such as in handicrafts. transport. employers. energy and water and can impact the natural environment. it will minimize the impact of increasing energy costs associated with the introduction of the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. business entrepreneurs. tourism offers part-time and shift work that can be helpful to women with household responsibilities.

and the cultural groups involved. Similarly. There are examples of communities overrun by large numbers of visitors.6 Cultural Heritage Interest in unique cultures in Kenya by tourists can result in negative impacts and severe disruptions for communities. In most cases. coastal resources. tourism impacts on vulnerable cultures has begun to be taken seriously by the tourism industry. They can often contribute investment in kind by . non-governmental organizations. commercialization of traditions. support by the women in a cultural group is often critical to ensuring the success of a tourism project and its operation. there should be Public and private sector investment: Few vulnerable cultures will have ready access to capital to invest in tourism. and instil animosities that negatively affect the local communities and the tourism destination. Often a respected Elder or someone with connections outside the community may be a key initiator. Over the last two decades. and wildlife. and where the development was neither desired nor locally validated. Specifically. cultural issues overlap and are aggravated by environmental issues such as access to water. the desire for tourism needs to be driven by the cultural group and supported by the community. governments. 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. Further. and threats to cultural survival from unplanned and unmanaged tourism. with the growth in ecotourism and alternative travel. These situations lead to conflicts that make cooperation and mutual benefits nearly impossible to achieve. Tourism destinations are occasionally built by outsiders (usually with government approval) in areas that indigenous or traditional communities consider to be theirs.

Discuss. the most adapted definition of destination competitiveness is that by Ritchie & Crouch (2003:2) which refers destination competitiveness as a destination’s ability to increase tourism expenditure. Definition of Destination Competitiveness There is rich literature detailing the definition of Destination competitiveness. the Governments. Finally.providing labour and natural materials for construction for example. In turn. these organizations need to learn about and understand the aspirations of the vulnerable culture. Although the end result of achieving destination competitiveness might well enhance economic prosperity for residents. Concept of Destination Competitiveness . including price and non-price factors. there is need to develop indicators which reflect this since a range of factors influence destination competitiveness. 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. resulting in a change in the composition of industry rather than an expansion of economic activity. NGOs. and to do so in a profitable way. Introduction The unique characteristics of the tourism industry poses a challenge when it comes to measuring competitiveness. Destination competitiveness is a tool not an objective and is no guarantee for success. These aspects serve as tools and means to achieve competitiveness within a well-structured and planned tourism destination. As a result. Both public and private sector investment have helped launch tourism projects with vulnerable communities. often with an agreement on shared responsibilities. 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. while enhancing the well-being of destination residents and preserving the natural capital of the destination for future generations. memorable experiences. it is evident that the expansion of tourism will often ‘crowd out’ other economic sectors. to increasingly attract visitors while providing them with satisfying.

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

and that individual firms and nations face different challenges and opportunities . As evidenced by Ritchie & Crouch. but to a great extent also exist as a perception in the minds of current and potential tourists. The service establishes operations in foreign countries 3. Lastly. inseparable (require the presence of the customer) and cannot be standardized. not only exist in real terms. Service industries have three modes of operating internationally: 1. thus limiting the extent to which the competitiveness of tourism services can be measured along the lines of other service sectors. 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. but are still regarded as conceptual entities. Therefore. The customer travels to the service 2. such as market share and growth. These characteristics require a different perspective on many measures of competitiveness.Due to . The unique characteristics of tourism services Services differ from goods in the sense that they are intangible. individual destinations often expand beyond a single space to include several destinations and locations. whether these may be real or merely fictitious occurrences. should such a company decide to enter the international arena. service delivery becomes even more challenging. turnover and quality. Competitiveness can be viewed from a macro or micro perspective As postulated by Dwyer and Kim. Only a few of these products or services would by definition fall within more than one of the three categories above. hospitality. they are affected by current as well as past events. (2003:19). when considering the nature of products and services that form part of the tourism industry for instance transportation. attractions and travel intermediaries. highly perishable. competitiveness can be viewed from a macro and a micro perspective.

Competitive advantage on the other hand is the destination’s ability to effectively and use or deploy these resources. and the opportunities and threats present in the global tourism market.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. Positioning forms part of a destination’s strategy development and is the ability to develop and communicate meaningful differences between the offerings of the particular destination and its tourism business units. especially with regards to specific product offerings or types of resources. It is thus focused on creating a desired perception or image in the minds of certain tourist markets. Comparative advantage is in essence differences concerned with the between destinations in terms of their possession of resources or the factors of production. The distinction between comparative and competitive advantage While considering destination competitiveness. A destination can. and those of competitors serving the same target market. promote an image of being better than competing destinations (competitiveness). a destination will have to look for a match between its competitive strengths and weaknesses. is referred to as factor proportions. Thus while aiming at destination competitiveness. Competitiveness is more than competitive positioning In addition to the various considerations mentioned above. it is important to make the distinction between comparative and competitive advantage as both present a different aspect of achieving overall destination competitiveness. 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. through the utilization of positioning tactics. it is also important to note that competitiveness is not the same as competitive positioning. The way in which a destination h a s more or less of one of the other resource/s. This does however not mean or guarantee that the destination in its totality meets .

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

and effective leadership by business.Conclusion From the above findings. A pro-active role. it involves a number of economic sectors thus it is not an assurance of success. rather than a passive one. 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. A sustainable tourism industry requires a commitment by all involved to sustainable development principles at all stages of development. is required to ensure that environmental and heritage values are fully sustained. government and community leaders at all levels. Even so. . committed. destinations require strong.