Determinants and policy framework for competitiveness of backpacking tourism in Kenya

Bundi, Eva Gatwiri
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Strathmore University
Backpacking tourism has evolved globally but remains under exploited segment in Kenya. Countries with tourism-based economies deploy their comparative and competitive advantages to achieve competitiveness in the tourism sector. The general objective of this study was to assess the determinants and policy framework for competitiveness of backpacking tourism in Kenya through an exploratory survey research. Data collection was done using structured questionnaires from 38 respondents using a stratified random sampling design. The respondents came from staff in the national government tourism agencies, county government tourism departments, tourism research and education institutions, staff in backpacker hostels and members of tourism professional and industry bodies in Kenya. The descriptive analysis involved the use of frequencies, percentages, mean and standard deviation while inferential analysis involved the application of Pearson Correlation to determine the nature of the relationship between the determinants, policy framework and competitiveness of backpacking tourism. The results indicated that the best performing determinants of Kenya’s competitiveness in backpacking tourism are the unique scenery, landscapes, national parks and reserves, quality and range of activities (nature-based, adventure, recreational), unique architecture, traditional arts and crafts in the destination and the friendliness of the locals towards tourists. There is a notable lack of government support for entrepreneurs in the backpacking tourism segment and poor government pricing policies (taxes, charges & exchange rates) to spur backpacking tourism. The correlation analysis results revealed that there was a positive correlation between the determinants and competitiveness of backpacking tourism and a positive correlation between policy framework and competitiveness of backpacking tourism. There is a need to enhance government policy interventions to promote the backpacking tourism segment. Future studies on a wider scope are recommended considering that this is an area with little information especially in Kenya.
A Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Masters in Public Policy and Management in Strathmore Business School
Policy framework, Tourism_Kenya, Backpacker hostels