An examination of Kenya’s Outbound Tourism to Ugandan Destinations: Towards Re-thinking Kenya’s Tourism Product Development and Marketing

Ng’oriarita Plimo Jonathan, Thomas Bor, Nelly Jerop, Nehemia Kiprutto


Kenya has placed high attention to the tourism industry as it constitutes one of her principal export sectors that not only earns her the much sought after foreign exchange but also creates employment opportunities directly and indirectly. However, Kenya’s dominant tourist products (beach and safari) are already tired, and this has substantially reduced Kenya’s competitiveness in the tourism market, (World Bank, 2010).  Kenya’s overreliance on few tourist generating countries for its tourists has placed the country’s tourism industry in jeopardy particularly when these tourist generating countries issue unexpected travel advisories. Tourism scholars and commentators alike have over time recommended the development and marketing of the country’s domestic tourism sub-sector. This study examined Kenya’s outbound tourists to Ugandan destinations with a view of understanding their characteristics, preferences, travel motivation, expenditure patterns, their duration of stay, their knowledge of Kenya’s tourist products, their information sources, the sources of their finances, and their willingness to take recreation in Kenya. The study employed mixed methods approach, where both qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques were used.  The study established that: despite Uganda boasting of natural wildlife-based attractions such as the famous Gorilla conservation area, most Kenyans (94.8%) who visit Uganda are attracted by religion/faith-based, culture/heritage-based and historical/political-based attractions as well as by the African hospitality of the local Ugandan people. Few (5.2%) of Kenyans visiting Uganda are attracted by nature-based attractions. The study recommends rigorous tourism marketing in Kenya as well as harnessing the country’s rich history for tourism.

Keywords: Kenya’s outbound tourism; Domestic tourism; Ugandan destinations; Tourism product development; marketing.

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