An Evaluation of Rural Tourism Potential for Rural Development in Kenya

Collins Ouma Agayi, Elif Gunduz


All over the world, tourism continues to be an integral part of economic development by contributing to countries’ gross domestic product (GDP), earning foreign exchange, creating job opportunities among other significant contributions. There is a need for increased diversification of tourism market away from the traditional ones like coastal and wildlife tourism. Over-reliance on mass tourism especially coastal based tourism also has negative degradation impacts on the environment, destruction and exhaustion of tourism products due to overexploitation. The need to improve tourists’ experiences in the destinations has led to increased calls for diversification of tourism products, thus shifting focus to the rural areas. Many potential tourism products like cultural heritage, archaeological sites and the good natural sceneries in rural areas remain unexploited or underexploited. This proposed study aims to deliberate on whether the sustainable development is possible for rural tourism in Kenya. This study examines the existing strategies employed by the Kenya government and other stakeholders in the tourism sectors, to determine areas of weakness that would require interventions. By conducting a SWOT analysis of the tourism potential in Kenya, this paper seeks to identify the untapped tourism potentials in rural Kenya and make necessary proposals for exploitation, to increase the competitiveness of Kenya tourism sector globally. Finally, the research establishes the general challenges facing the tourism sector in Kenya that have or have the potential to limit optimum operation and development in the sector. The research relies on secondary sources of data including research articles, government reports, academic documents and non-governmental organizations research works for a better understanding of the tourism sector in Kenya.

Keywords: Cultural heritage, Tourism destination, Rural development, Rural Tourism, Tourism products.

DOI: 10.7176/JAAS/63-05

Publication date: April 30th 2020

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