Planning for a Volatile Industry—

Tourism and Development in Kenya

Petra Doan, John Harris, and Kate Wilson

Department of Urban and Regional Planning Florida State University

Planning for a volatile industry— tourism and development in Kenya


Tourism as an economic sector has seen exponential growth over the past 60 years. In Africa there has also been rapid growth, but there has been considerably more variability due to local and regional instability. This paper considers the case of Kenya, where in recent years tourism has become the leading source of foreign exchange. The world wide decline in tourism due to the financial crash of 2008 is likely to have an even more profound effect on Kenya because of its recent history of ethnic violence. Arrivals in 2008 were estimated to be between 30 and 40% lower than the previous year, and there is not much hope for a strong recovery in 2009 given the current world economic situation. After earlier experiences with volatility the government of Kenya engaged in costly marketing efforts to entice tourists to return. The paper considers whether a return to a demand-focused strategy is likely to be sufficient and suggests that a different strategy may be warranted. In the circumstances a strategy that incorporates community based tourism planning with a focus on investments geared to support local level tourism infrastructure would enable greater local level participation and in doing so generate longer term benefits by reinforcing local planning capacity for tourism and other critical sectors, such as infrastructure. The paper also addresses the feasibility of the administrative reforms which this strategy would entail.

Key words: community-based planning, tourism recovery, Kenya, ethnic violence


1987) are useful for broad regional estimates. Models that predict tourist demand and the propensity to travel internationally (Pearce. 2009). driving us to radically alter our existing policies and practices…. the tourism sector now accounts for a dominant share of employment. and our markets. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization. The WTO has suggested that during 2009 overall tourism may fall by as much as 2% (WTO. Still the UNWTO General Secretary has suggested that “this situation puts unrelenting pressure on our customers. It is the time to revisit our existing structures. 2009a). there is a great deal more variability due to local and regional instability.…. As a result. capital investment. our employees. These country-specific fluctuations can cause havoc for policy-makers concerned with decisions about infrastructure and social development spending needed to support the industry. The future operating patterns for global economies will be vastly different from the past: the very nature of consumerism will change and so will our markets and our prospects. for particular locations.1 billion to 683 billion during the same period (WTO.” (WTO 2009b) 2 . 2000). but in the face of localized instability can cause over-estimates of actual tourist flows.Planning for a volatile industry— tourism and development in Kenya Over the past fifty years the world wide travel and tourism industry has experienced very rapid growth. As with all WTO projections this predicted decline may be steeper and hit harder in some countries than in others. It is time for innovations and bold action. 2006). and influence on the people and locations which are the locus of tourism (Hall. While the overall growth of this sector at the world and regional level has been strong and steady. the number of tourist arrivals climbed from 25 million in 1950 to 807 million in 2005 and tourism receipts have similarly climbed from $2. The financial crisis which began in 2008 and continued into 2009 has had a powerful effect on the tourism industry throughout the developing world. The consequences of over-predicting tourist arrivals can have significant consequences for local investors and the long term prospects for tourism within a country (Doan.The complex. policies and practices. interconnected and dynamically unfolding nature of this crisis makes it unpredictable.

2009). After previous periods of volatility the government of Kenya has spent large sums on major marketing efforts to entice tourists to return. such a recovery seems unlikely for the near term. 3 .What kinds of changes are needed for tourism industries to thrive? Will increased spending on tourism promotion and marketing be sufficient to turn the dismal forecasts around? Are there are other kinds of stimulative investments that need to be made to ensure the long term health of the industry? This paper considers the case of Kenya. 2001). A critical corollary is whether central and local governments in Kenya are willing and able to facilitate more intensive community participation.” There is a pressing need for a “new” approach to tourism planning that understands the tourism development process as a nexus of global and local forces (Milne and Ateljevic. the paper considers whether a strategy that incorporates community based tourism planning would enable greater local level participation and in doing so generate longer term benefits by reinforcing local planning capacity for tourism and other critical sectors. and the industry needed a good year in 2009 to begin recovery (WTO. Brohman (1996) has argued that “a more appropriately planned tourism development process is needed which would both spread the costs and the benefits more equitably and more sensitively to its social and cultural impacts. The world wide decline is likely to have an even more profound effect on Kenya because of its recent history of ethnic violence. Context of Community based tourism planning Calls for greater community involvement in the tourism sector are not new. Taylor (1995) warns that because communities in touristic areas are not necessarily homogenous. The question addressed by this paper is whether a return to such a demand-focused strategy is likely to be sufficient or whether a focus on investments geared to support local level tourism infrastructure would be more appropriate. where in recent years tourism has become the leading source of foreign exchange. In light of the current dismal world economic situation. efforts to encourage community involvement may be complex. Murphy (1985) first suggested community based tourism as a more sustainable approach to developing tourist facilities. Arrivals in 2008 were already down between 30 and 40%. such as infrastructure. Alternatively.

Hasse and Milne (2005) also highlight the importance of participatory approaches to tourism development and suggest that the integrating the use of GIS can result in significant improvements in community interactions. environmental degradation. it is also acknowledged that these constraints contribute directly to underdevelopment. The capacity of local governments in Africa is quite variable and faces significant challenges on a number of fronts (Oluwu and Wunsch. but when critical industries such as tourism are planned entirely by the central government without local input. The second and third stages in this process include an emerging political commitment to open participatory processes and the subsequent reshaping of local and national administration to include greater participation in the planning and executing of tourism policy. The first step in meaningful community participation is pressure from both external sources and local citizens who must call for more openness. the results are rising land prices. that local capacity is further undermined. 2001. (Milne and Ateljevic. 174) Teye (1999) argues that the complexities of tourism planning require both investment in basic tourism others. 2004). Tosun (2000) indicates that a limiting factor of community participation is the fact that government officials are hesitant to leave the planning of such an important economic sector –tourism . p. and also in human capacity to ensure the participation of a variety of stakeholders including community residents. Gössling (2001) suggests that tourism development without significant local input in Zanzibar has resulted in ecosystem degradation and a deterioration in local quality of life. trust. A key question is at what point can community based tourism planning be successfully integrated into local government planning so that both are mutually reinforced. and networking are essential ingredients in providing the right mix for tourism development outcomes. and the growth of prostitution and drug abuse.“Community-based approaches are central to many tourism development plans around the world and there is a growing realization that localized cooperation. Diagne (2004) suggests that in Senegal when tourism development occurs in top down fashion. 4 . While many developing nations of sub-Saharan Africa lack the political and social infrastructure to carry out meaningful participatory processes. accordingly he calls for a new type of “integrated tourism” in which local residents will participate in the planning process at all levels. Tosun (2005) suggests that developing nations go through several stages as they seek to establish meaningful community participation in tourism planning.

if adventurous. 2004). and the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife were both established shortly after independence to promote tourism. It has enjoyed the fruits of great colonial era investment in transport infrastructure. and roadside banditry. home invasions. Kenya’s once peaceful and inviting image had been replaced with images of car-jackings. tourist destination. neo-liberal economic policies. The Kenyan Tourism Development Corporation. This enthusiasm for the industry carried through the advent of independence. there was an early commitment to policy planning for the industry that encouraged promotional efforts. It also helped establish Nairobi as a sort of regional capital. Analysts have given several possible reasons for this including rapid urbanization. and Kenya enjoyed an average annual sector growth rate of 10% from 1960 to 1988 (Kenya 1991.mostly limited to Nairobi. Kenya’s stability served its image as a premier. Kenya was from independence until the late 1980’s an island of political stability and continuity in a region where war and political unrest was common. This change is largely a reflection of upheaval in Kenyan society itself. Simultaneously. Other observers have noted the pernicious effects of prostitution and drug use on residents of heavily used tourist areas along the coast (Beckerleg and Hundt. land and wildlife conservation. hosting the headquarters of many international organizations and regional business interests (Gimode 2001). Likewise. and formulate government policy for the industry (Akama 1999). and public and private investment in the country’s hospitality infrastructure (Ondicho 2000). the KenyaUganda Railway opened up the interior of Kenya to tourism long before many other Sub-Saharan destinations had that capacity.received the lion’s share of investment and thereby the bulk of tourist visits to the country. In the mid and late 1980’s Kenya began to experience a significant increase in incidents and brutality of criminal activity. in particular. quoted in Ondicho 2000). Beginning in the late 1980’s. and Tsavo . street muggings. police and government corruption. create new investment initiatives.Tourism in Kenya – Growth and Volatililty The tourism industry in Kenya is perhaps the oldest and best established in Sub-Saharan Africa. 5 . The post colonial era was a period of great expansion in the global tourism industry. In this context. a government affiliated organization. Maasai Mara. grinding poverty. the tourist industry in Kenya transitioned from one of stable sustained growth to one of volatility and stagnation. by the mid-to-late 1990’s. and an increase in refugees and arms from hitherto more violent neighboring countries (Gimode 2001). Amboselli. Mombasa. selected sites . and had a profound effect on the tourism industry. Regardless of the contributing factors. All of these factors contributed to a major down turn in the quality of life for Kenyans.

and still are. its political context was transforming from a one-party dictatorial rule to a pluralistic and multi-party democracy.since many of the violent episodes seemed to specifically target foreign nationals and tourists. resulting in frequent travel advisories from European and North American governments. Kibicho (2004) reports that residents who were employed in tourism had a more positive outlook than the majority who were not able to find jobs in tourist facilities. A recent review of World Bank involvement in the tourism industry (Hawkins and Mann. 6 . (Gimode. largely based on traditional ethnic loyalties. 104 were killed. There continues to be little local level planning involvement in the tourism sector. Armed men carried out raids targeting individuals and businesses belonging to non-local ethnic groups. In spite of these difficulties.000 were displaced (Human Rights Watch 2002). violence erupted near the major tourist destination of Mombasa. 133 were injured. 2001). In this context. Kareithi (2003) suggests that the informal sector providers of handicrafts were hit especially hard by the downturns in 2002. but smaller local entrepreneurs were often forced out of the tourist trade and returned to subsistence agriculture. and 100. political feuds based on long standing regional and ethnic animosities have resulted in frequent outbreaks of “politically instigated violence” (Akama 1999). At least part of the trouble appears to have been tribal tension between inland tribes who had managerial jobs in hotel facilities and local populations who felt kept out of the lucrative tourist trade and deeply resented this “foreign” incursion. In addition to frequent episodes of violence in the Rift Valley. The incident lasted weeks. This disparity has led to considerable tension and eventually to the outbreak of violent inter-tribal conflicts. The emerging political parties were. 2007) indicates that the lack of local level planning was part of the problem with the tourism sector in Kenya. This finding suggests that the inequitable distribution of the benefits of the tourism industry at the local level may have been a contributing factor to the rise of ethnic tension. planning for the sector has largely occurred by the central government in concert with donors (primarily the Japanese International Cooperation Agency) other than the World Bank and private sector investors. outpacing agricultural exports like tea and coffee for the first time in 2004 (see Table 1). Additionally. at a time when Kenyan society was experiencing this increase in criminal behavior. tourism has become Kenya’s leading economic sector. in August of 1997. The larger and better connected traders (usually Kikuyu) were able to shift locations and seek out places where there were tourists.

but this number dropped precipitously so that by 2002 there were just 21. 1997) and contributing to a leakage of tourist revenues back to Italy.1996) .A project completion report (World Bank 1990) for a Wildlife and Tourism Project in Kenya implemented between 1976 and 1985 acknowledged improved foreign exchange earnings and the contribution of the wildlife viewing product. management. but emphasized that little attention was given to improved planning. the hospitality industry saw a contraction in available bed-places as hotels slashed their prices and many went out of business (WTO. p. management. The government’s emphasis was on promoting large scale projects that were mostly owned and managed by foreign or multinational companies.000 arrivals in 1992 to as high as 928. the number of bed-places reached a high for the decade of the 90s in 1995 with 34.000 arrivals in 1994 with no real gains until after 2003 (WTO). Over the same time period. At the same time.211 places. and control (Sindiga. as well as an uneven distribution of the benefits of tourist investments. 2007. This all had a profound tarnishing effect on Kenya as a tourist destination. For instance in Malindi a surge of tourism investment by Italians has resulted in a high proportion of the facilities in that city are owned by Italians. 355) The results have been over-crowding and environmental degradation.276. government policy was focused on increasing foreign investment in the tourism sector. Sindiga 1996). Table 1 about here At the same time that Kenya was experiencing volatility in society and its leading industry. the large numbers of Italian tourists visiting the region patronize the Italian facilities. spending very little in locally owned facilities (Akama. resulted in foreign dominance in the industry with over 50% of all hotels under foreign ownership. (Hawkins and Mann. and conservation of these natural endowments. From 1990 to 2003 tourist arrivals in Kenya have ranged from as low as 782. As indicated in Table 2. Table 2 about here 7 .

criminal harm. in that. Perceived risk is an individual’s assessment of a negative experience associated with a purchase or experience (Dowling & Staelin 1994). p. these variables are consistently empirically important (Lim 1999) and capture important global macroeconomic factors such as exchange rates. 1999. 2004. tourists have been mugged or even killed on occasion. As seen in the experience of the unstable tourism industry in Kenya between the late 1980’s and 2003. fuel prices. 1993. An individual’s perception of risk. 2003). travel and destination environment. 8 . monetary concerns. Richter. The Neumayer study underscores some previous work that shows the importance of tourism-dependent countries’ ability to manage their image in the minds of potential tourists. the perception of risk is paramount to the industry because it influences present and future travel choices. While threats to tourists in Kenya are real. conflict and other politically motivated violent events have important affects on tourist arrivals. Likewise the study found evidence that local violence in one nation can cause tourists to substitute trips to neighboring countries that offer similar destination amenities. transportation performance. The typical model used to estimate international tourism demand focuses on three factors: income of the sending country. The finding that the effect of violence on arrivals is magnified in countries that are even “mildly dependent on tourism receipts” (Neumayer. transportation costs incurred by tourists. The categories of risk commonly identified include health and wellbeing. is usually based on demographic characteristics of the individual. and tourism prices in the receiving county. and property crime (Simpson & Siguaw 2008). issues of personal safety are always of the highest priority to potential tourists ((Reisinger & Mavondo 2005. Lepp and Gibson. and the ebb and flow of international economies. 277) is critically important for Kenya as well as other developing countries dependant on tourism as a major source of income and foreign exchange. The study found evidence that human rights violations. Clearly though. when making tourism consumption choices. Simpson & Siguaw 2008). travel service performance. There seem to be both short term (a few months after a violent episode) and long term (lasting even years after a conflict) effects of political violence where spikes in violence in a country reduce arrivals by as much as a third. Neumayer (2004) conducted an expansive quantitative study on the effect of various forms of political violence on tourism. Within these categories of risk. the threat or perceived threat of instability or violence is eminently important to individual tourists (Ryan. Besides being well placed within economic theory. other factors become important as individuals make tourism consumption choices. it is an area that has not been well researched.Kenyan Volatility in the Context of Tourism Demand Mechanics While it may be intuitive that tourists will stay away from an area with a violent image.

the transport infrastructure in Kenya is well known for its state of disrepair.Intensive Marketing as a Response to Crisis Sönmez (1998) details the great lengths that counties have gone to improve international perceptions after an experience of terrorism or political violence. (Beirman 2008. This recovery suggests that Kenya was quite successful in re-imaging itself to international travelers and as a result enjoyed a steady expansion in the performance of the sector. Nations that can effectively conduct “recovery marketing” can reach out to potential travelers who have not yet fully formed negative attitudes toward a county following a violent episode or period in history. TTF 2006). This review highlights the need to “manage” violence in the public eye as a crisis in the tourism industry. Figure 1 indicates the projected growth rate as well as the actual level of arrivals to Kenya (data for 2007-2009 are based on estimates). While the tourism sector in Kenya owes a great deal of its success to early investment in transport infrastructure and policy planning. where tourist arrivals met or exceeded the 10% annual growth rate experienced in the sector prior to the late 1980’s. 9 . TTF 2006) The recovery seen between 2003-2007. environmental protection or distribution of facilities (Akama 2002). the Tourism Recovery Management Plan(TRMP) began in 2003. However. the focus on stimulating demand neglected to provide resources to maintain the high quality of the Kenyan tourist product. The great expansion of tourism in this period was accomplished without clearly laid out regulations and procedures related to location. The projected growth rate of 11% is ambitious at best. these arenas have been largely neglected. Although most planning in Kenya is highly centralized. Likewise. in the case of tourism there is a tendency to rely on foreign experts to develop master plans for the sector. The Tourism Trust Fund was established in 2001 as a joint venture between the Government of Kenya and the European Union. but lacks clearly defined implementation mechanisms for financing and local plan implementation (Akama. 2002). The most recent master plan for Tourism was no exception as it was conducted by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). and in the light of recent events seems a near impossibility. Among the many objectives and programs launched by the TTF. is largely credited to this program and other ongoing and similar efforts (Beirman 2008. The resulting product is theoretically sound. This approach can be seen clearly in Kenya during the tourism sector’s lauded recovery from 2003-2007. The core of the plan involved simultaneously working with the international diplomatic core to address concerns of tourist-sending nations and to provide substantial resources for an international direct-to-consumer marketing campaign in 10 European markets designed shed the negative image of the 1990’s.

a marketing campaign would need to be on a massive scale that would drain resources badly needed to maintain the supply of basic tourist amenities and infrastructure. The civil unrest resulting from the contested elections at the end of December 2007 resulted in tremendous upheaval with as many as 1500 deaths and as the massive relocation of 600. The post election violence experienced in Kenya in early 2008 is a continuation of the same problems seen in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. The impact on tourism has been immediate and extensive. While it seems Kenya is gearing up for another re-imaging campaign similar to the TRMP of 2003. Marete (2008) estimates that initially tourist arrivals dropped by 90% and tourism revenues are expected to drop by $84 million (BBC News. The WTO Tourism Barometer estimates that as of October 2008 tourist arrivals were down 40% from the previous year and hotel occupancy rates were 28% lower than the previous year (WTO. Because the post election violence resulted in very large volume of negative images associated with the country as a result. 2008). 2008). the magnitude of negative press reports about Kenya have been staggering. While this 10 . the subsequent global economic downturn has greatly exacerbated the problem. Feb 12. it is possible that an overemphasis on the marketing effort would lead to missed opportunities to strengthen the long term viability of this volatile industry.Figure 1 about here Unfortunately the image change did nothing to address the key elements in the tourism sector that are part of the underlying problem in Kenyan society. The long lasting ethno-political strife remains a significant problem. During the first six months of 2008 the tourist industry experienced disastrous short term consequences. With such intensive coverage of this gruesome violence. Figures 2 and 3 about here Community Participation as a Vehicle for Renewed Investment While the marketing campaign aimed at fostering the recovery of the international tourist industry in Kenya following the post election violence of 2008 is likely warranted given the importance of the sector and the success of past similar efforts.000 people of the Luo and Kikuyu tribes (Gettleman 2008). Figures 2 and 3 respectively illustrate the sheer volume of negative publicity generated in two key markets (New York and London).

The funds used to carry on these activities were generated from park entry fees. especially the national road network. the state of infrastructure in Kenya hinders foreign investment in the tourist sector as the private cost to produce some basic amenities make investment cost prohibitive (S&P 2006). In recent history. there will likely need to be a break from the past in terms of local infrastructure financing. however.unfortunately means that a speedy recovery of the sector is less likely. As mentioned earlier. Typical safari packages have higher end price tags. in addition to being a barrier to growth in other sectors of the Kenyan economy. hinders Kenya from developing high value chain tourism products that attract the most affluent travelers (World Bank 2007). For Kenyan purposes. During a downturn in the tourism sector. The condition of the road network. public 11 . is frequently listed as a major limiting factor to expanding the industry. often impassable roads or by charter plane. for instance Maasai Mara. It is estimated that current spending cannot maintain the existing roads even as they are today and that it would cost approximately 9% of GDP to clear the current backlog of maintenance (World Bank 2008). Past economic downturns have afforded many governments the chance to make significant public sector investments that may not be feasible for practical or political reasons at other times. the overall condition of infrastructure. This gave Kenya a leg up relative to many nations with similar amenities. some of the most popular sites. The Kenyan tourist industry owes a large part of its existence to early substantial transport infrastructure investment seen in the colonial era. This compounded the economic downturn as local businesses were unable to cope without ready access to supplies (Kareithi 2003). the local Narok County Council oversaw the maintenance of the transportation links around the park. it may offer a chance to retool and reorganize some of the foundations of the industry and tackle some of the persistent thorny issues that are at the root of industry volatility. As tourist revenues dried up. To continue the Maasai Mara example. Both options drive up the cost for potential tourists to visit the site. but the Kenyan industry has and will have difficulty diversifying into luxury packages without a functioning transport system that allows visitors ready access to attractions and high end accommodation when they get there. the road network neglect generally began in the 1990’s and since then it has largely fallen into disrepair. Additionally. To do this. however. so did the Council’s ability to maintain the roads. are only accessible by terrible. the global economic downturn coupled with the sector losses associated with the post election violence. local tourist infrastructure is predicated on local tourist receipts. during the last crisis in the tourist sector prior to the recovery in 2003. could provide an opportunity to make significant public sector investments. Frequently. who only began to capture significant regional market share years and often decades after Kenya had come to enjoy substantial growth in the tourist receipts. As it is.

Akama (1997) calls for increased community involvement in planning and management of Kenya’s tourism industry as the solution to excessive leakage of the tourism revenues out of the country. The assessment of Tosun’s first criteria. Smoke (2008) suggests that local level planning has been hindered by weak participatory mechanisms because local civil societies are not well developed. and management of tourism projects in their communities.infrastructure funding will need to be supplemented by central government funds to ensure continuity in basic infrastructure needed to support tourism. As a part of the partnership. But concrete steps to apply such pressure are not yet visible. To reiterate Tosun argues that meaningful community participation is dependent on: 1) pressure for both external sources and local constituents. Unfortunately the World Bank has moved away from supporting tourism initiatives (Hawkins and Mann. implementation. However. Manyara adds that within indigenous communities private sector development institutions will be needed in the tourism sector to ensure the diversification and development of small and medium sized enterprises and prevent leakage of tourism revenues out of the economy (Manyara et al 2006). Pressure from local citizens for a greater role in community based tourism planning is also not yet in place. 2) an emerging political commitment to participatory processes. 2007). that there are external and local sources of pressure for greater participation. The European Union appears ready to play a key role in promoting economic recovery for the tourism industry. there is certainly external interest in the sector from other donors. Kenya will require a broad effort to empower locally based tourism stakeholders to participate in the decision-making process for tourism infrastructure and other development investments. but this has not yet happened. and 3) the re-shaping of local and national administrative functions to permit greater participation in planning and executing tourism policy. Readiness for Community Participation in Tourism Planning At this point it is useful to apply Tosun’s (2005) stages in establishing meaningful community participation in tourism planning to the Kenyan context. The task for community based planning will be to reinvigorate such institutions. must be considered a mixed bag. Other donors such as USAID and the JICA could also play important roles in the re-establishing tourism investments at the local level and supporting tourism planning on a more sustainable basis. 12 . There should be local participation in the design. the EU could put pressure on the Kenyan authorities to include more meaningful community participation in their tourism planning as they retool for growth in the future.

and setting up a virtual laboratory within which skills for resolving ethnic and political conflicts can be developed. Smoke (2004) argues that one key to effective decentralization in the Kenyan context is local fiscal reform since 13 . 2005. There have been numerous attempts by donor agencies to reinvigorate local level governance and promote wider participation with only modest success. However. 1990). Brinkerhoff (2005) goes on to suggest that that decentralization can help to heal ethnic conflicts by creating more local autonomy. Good governance in this area means. The Kenyan government’s continued reluctance to allow greater local participation in planning in part due to fear of continued ethnic unrest (Smoke 2003). In this kind of post conflict situation there are clear benefits to a new and more participatory planning approach. but has not yet reduced the trend of centralization of local authority and control by the Ministry of Local Government (Wallis. it is unclear whether such a state will be willing to change directions and encourage more participatory development. provision of roads and transportation networks and attention to social safety nets…. Efforts such as the District Focus for Rural Development Strategy (DFRDS) provided the patina of a genuine local development effort. but might be considered in process. also remains to be demonstrated in the Kenyan context. adequate and functioning municipal infrastructure. 6). Tosun’s third criteria. for example. Rebuilding effectiveness has to do. p. Furthermore as Kenya emerges from the election violence of 2008 with its coalition government. (Brinkerhoff. widely available health care and schooling. weak states’ inability/unwillingness to do so can be an important contributing factor to state failure and the eruption of renewed conflict. with the functions and capacity of the public sector.. 1996). a political commitment to wider participation. establishing mechanisms to resolve conflicts over resource distribution and local service delivery. Brinkerhoff (2005) argues that attention to basic infrastructure and services is an important means of re-establishing trust at the local level. first and foremost. The recent spate of violence and inarticulate mob expression of dissatisfaction has clearly applied pressure for real change. 1990. It would appear that a different strategy based on local participatory processes might be an important means of reinvigorating the tourism sector. Particularly when coupled with ethnic tension. it remains to be seen if this pressure is sufficient.Tosun’s second criteria. In Kenya since independence there has been a long process of centralizing political power to the detriment of many local government functions and the evisceration of local planning capacity (Wallis. Southall and Wood. the re-shaping of administrative functions to facilitate local level planning is not yet met. the current high levels centralization in Kenya did not prevent the terrible ethnic conflicts of 2008.

However. As with major infrastructure investments. In the mean time. upgrading facilities at existing but underutilized sites and parks throughout Kenya. In Kenya. As such. Clearly long term solutions to these problems need to be a top priority of the government. it could be politically viable. but communities. Additionally. Kenya is attempting to develop its cultural tourist offerings while also maintaining its major attractions. the development of at least one of three proposed new resort cities. it lays out goals of diversifying the tourist offerings in Kenya to include cultural sites and experiences in addition to the typical beach and safari tours. That said. and the promotion. Furthermore given the nature of the ongoing economic crisis. Projects such as those suggested by the Vision 2030 document and any eventual projects will likely rely on foreign expertise and investment and be oriented to the business interests 14 . positive and negative on host communities. For instance. The First Medium Term Plan 2008-2012 of the Vision 2030 document lays out significant goals and objectives for the tourism sector for the next few years.for many years local governments have had very little control of locally collected revenues and have not had the authority to assess additional revenues. rather than letting the crisis go to waste the government could seize the moment and take steps to reinvigorate local planning and governance capacity. Conclusions While Kenya may not yet meet all of Tosun’s criteria for broad-based community tourism planning. These include upgrading road network infrastructure. this will increasingly be the case with the development of cultural tourism. Community participation on an appropriate scale would help to mitigate the negative and expand the positive in these instances. of local tourism entrepreneurship. it does suggest a continued commitment to and reliance on the tourism sector regardless of the exact projects or programs selected to foster growth. Likewise. there could be opportunities to involve long term tourism sector planning in those efforts. it is unlikely to be completed in full or on time. funds for an intensive tourism marketing program may be scarce. the down turn also affords time and opportunity to Kenya to adjust its tourism planning. through training and awareness campaigns. There are opportunities provided by the current downturn and the ongoing visioning process. many of the elements are at least in play. Tosun (2001) states that tourist do not merely visit attractions. There will be effect. A document like this is always a grand vision with a wish list of projects and programs.

By this point the world wide recession may have eased. and tourists will once more be looking for opportunities to explore new landscapes and new communities. 15 . there is a real opportunity to use a participatory planning process to not only address the long term prospects of the tourism sector and the expansion of economic benefits to more people. Once the mechanisms for sustainable tourism planning are put in place. but also the underlying conflict within Kenyan society.associated with the project. Having said that. it will be time for an extensive marketing campaign.

Table 1 Comparison of Foreign exchange earning (KSh 000) between Tourism. 2006 16 . Tea and Coffee Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 Horticulture 13900 20200 26700 28800 32600 38800 % 10 14 16 16 15 16 Tea 35150 34485 34376 33005 36072 42291 % 26 23 20 18 17 17 Tourism 21553 24239 21734 25768 39200 48900 % 16 16 13 12 18 20 Total 134527 147590 169283 183154 214793 244198 Source: Statistical Analysis of Tourism Trends. Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife.

Table 2 Tourist Arrivals in Kenya (overnight visitors).966 10.113 12. 2009 estimates from January 2009 WTO Economic Crisis memo projecting a highly optimistic 2% drop worldwide 17 ** .464 10.039 9.719 NA NA NA (US $ Millions) 466 432 442 413 627 447 465 385 290 485 500 536 513 619 799 969 1182 NA NA NA Information from the World Tourism Organization’s Compendium of Tourism Statistics * Bed-Nights = bed-places times occupancy times 365. bed-nights.491 9.536 12. international tourism receipts from 1990-2006 and estimates for 2007-2009 as indicated Tourist Arrivals (Overnight visitors) International Tourism Receipts Bed-Nights* (Thousands) 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 ** ** ** 814 805 782 826 928 896 925 907 792 862 899 828 825 927 1193 1536 1644 1760 1056 1035 (Thousands) 5827 6118 6424 6745 7082 7436 7808 8199 8609 9.987 11. 2007 estimates only assuming same growth as 2006-2007. 2008 Estimate from WTO Tourism Barometer October 2008.

2009 estimated 2 % worldwide tourism decline for 2009 (WTO Press Release Jan 27. 2007-209 estimated as follows: 2007 assuming same growth as 2005-2006. 2009) 18 2009 . Predicted 11% growth rate based upon the National Development Plan for Kenya from 1997-2001 which predicted tourist arrivals to increase at 11% per year.2009) and Predicted (11% Growth from 1997) 3500 3000 2500 Arrivals (000) 2000 1500 1000 500 0 1981 1983 1985 1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 Kenya 11% Growth Rate Timeline Actual Tourist Arrivals (overnight visitors) found in World Tourism Organization’s Compendium of Tourism Statistics.Figure 1 Actual and estimated versus predicted (11%) growth rate of tourist arrivals in Kenya 1984-2009 Tourist Arrivals 1981-2007. various editions. October 2008). (WTO Tourism Barometer. Estimated (2007. 2008 assuming 40% Kenyan tourism reduction.

2008 Figure 2 Media References in the New York Times for Kenya and Violence or Terrorism from 1981 to 2008 New York Times search for Kenya and Terrorism conducted November 7. 2008 1981 1982 19831984 19851986 1987 19881989 19901991 1992 19931994 19951996 1997 19981999 20002001 2002 20032004 20052006 2007 2008 19 Kenya & Violence Kenya & Terrorism Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec .Number of Reports 100 120 140 160 20 40 60 80 0 Time Periods New York Times search for Kenya and Violence conducted November 3.

Figure 3 Media references in the BBC for Kenya and Violence or Terrorism from 1998 to 2008 40 35 Number of reports 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Jan-June July-Dec Kenya and Violence Kenya and Terrorism 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 TIme Period BBC search for Kenya and Violence conducted October 27. 2008 20 . 2008 BBC search for Kenya and Terrorism conducted October 28.

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decentralization. community partiucpation. tourism planning.Notes on Contributors Petra Doan is an associate professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida State University who teaches in the Planning for Developing Areas specialization. John Harris is a doctoral student in the Department of Urban and Regional Panning at Florida State University. 25 . She is a participant in the Master’s International Program with the US Peace Corps and will begin her volunteer service as an urban planning advisor in September of 2009. Kate Harris is a master’s student in the Department of Urban and Regional Panning at Florida State University. and gender and development. Her research interests include development planning in the Middle East and Africa. He spent two years based in Kenya with the Mennonite Central Committee with primary responsible for Southern Sudan.

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