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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

Abstract

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

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. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, the number of tourist arrivals climbed from 25 million in 1950 to 807 million in 2005 and tourism receipts have similarly climbed from $2.1 billion to 683 billion during the same period (WTO, 2009). As a result, the tourism sector now accounts for a dominant share of employment, capital investment, and influence on the people and locations which are the locus of tourism (Hall, 2000). While the overall growth of this sector at the world and regional level has been strong and steady, for particular locations, there is a great deal more variability due to local and regional instability. These country-specific fluctuations can cause havoc for policy-makers concerned with decisions about infrastructure and social development spending needed to support the industry. Models that predict tourist demand and the propensity to travel internationally (Pearce, 1987) are useful for broad regional estimates, but in the face of localized instability can cause over-estimates of actual tourist flows. 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,

2006).

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 WTO has suggested that during 2009 overall tourism may fall by as much as 2% (WTO, 2009a). As with all WTO projections this predicted decline may be steeper and hit harder in some countries than in others. Still the UNWTO General Secretary has suggested that

“this situation puts unrelenting pressure on our customers, our employees, and our markets, driving us to radically alter our existing policies and practices….….The complex, interconnected and dynamically unfolding nature of this crisis makes it unpredictable. 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. It is the time to revisit our existing structures, policies and practices. It is time for innovations and bold action.” (WTO

2009b)

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, where in recent years tourism has become the leading source of foreign exchange. The world wide decline is likely to have an even more profound effect on Kenya because of its recent history of ethnic violence. Arrivals in 2008 were already down between 30 and 40%, and the industry needed a good year in 2009 to begin recovery (WTO, 2009). In light of the current dismal world economic situation, such a recovery seems unlikely for the near term. After previous periods of volatility the government of Kenya has spent large sums on major marketing efforts to entice tourists to return. 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. Alternatively, 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, such as infrastructure. A critical corollary is whether central and local

governments in Kenya are willing and able to facilitate more intensive community participation.

Context of Community based tourism planning

Calls for greater community involvement in the tourism sector are not new. Murphy (1985) first suggested community based tourism as a more sustainable approach to developing tourist facilities. Taylor (1995) warns that because communities in touristic areas are not necessarily homogenous, efforts to encourage community involvement may be complex. 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.” 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, 2001).

“Community-based approaches are central to many tourism development plans around the world and there is a growing realization that localized cooperation, trust, and networking are essential ingredients in providing the right mix for tourism development outcomes. (Milne and Ateljevic, 2001, p. 174)

Teye (1999) argues that the complexities of tourism planning require both investment in

basic tourism facilities, 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. Diagne (2004) suggests that in Senegal when tourism

development occurs in top down fashion, the results are rising land prices, environmental

degradation, and the growth of prostitution and drug abuse; accordingly he calls for a new type

of “integrated tourism” in which local residents will participate in the planning process at all

levels. 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.

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 - to others. While many developing nations of sub-Saharan Africa lack the political and social infrastructure to carry out meaningful participatory processes, 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, 2004), but when critical industries such as tourism are planned entirely by the central government without local input, that local capacity is further undermined. 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. Tosun (2005)

suggests that developing nations go through several stages as they seek to establish meaningful community participation in tourism planning. The first step in meaningful community participation is pressure from both external sources and local citizens who must call for more openness. 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.

Tourism in Kenya – Growth and Volatililty

The tourism industry in Kenya is perhaps the oldest and best established in Sub-Saharan Africa. It has enjoyed the fruits of great colonial era investment in transport infrastructure; in particular, the Kenya- Uganda Railway opened up the interior of Kenya to tourism long before many other Sub-Saharan destinations had that capacity. Likewise, there was an early commitment to policy planning for the industry that encouraged promotional efforts, land and wildlife conservation, and public and private investment in the country’s hospitality infrastructure (Ondicho 2000).

This enthusiasm for the industry carried through the advent of independence. The Kenyan Tourism Development Corporation, a government affiliated organization, and the Ministry of Tourism

and Wildlife were both established shortly after independence to promote tourism, create new investment initiatives, and formulate government policy for the industry (Akama 1999). In this context, selected sites

- mostly limited to Nairobi, Mombasa, Maasai Mara, Amboselli, and Tsavo - received the lion’s share of

investment and thereby the bulk of tourist visits to the country. Simultaneously, 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. Kenya’s stability served its image as a premier, if adventurous, tourist destination. It also helped establish Nairobi as a sort of regional capital, hosting the headquarters of many international organizations and regional business interests (Gimode 2001). The post colonial era was a period of great expansion in the global tourism industry, and Kenya enjoyed an average annual sector growth rate of 10% from 1960 to 1988 (Kenya 1991, quoted in Ondicho 2000).

Beginning in the late 1980’s, the tourist industry in Kenya transitioned from one of stable

sustained growth to one of volatility and stagnation.

Kenyan society itself. In the mid and late 1980’s Kenya began to experience a significant increase in incidents and brutality of criminal activity. Analysts have given several possible reasons for this including

rapid urbanization, neo-liberal economic policies, police and government corruption, grinding poverty, and an increase in refugees and arms from hitherto more violent neighboring countries (Gimode 2001). Regardless of the contributing factors, by the mid-to-late 1990’s, Kenya’s once peaceful and inviting image had been replaced with images of car-jackings, home invasions, street muggings, and roadside banditry. 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, 2004). All of these factors contributed to

a major down turn in the quality of life for Kenyans, and had a profound effect on the tourism industry,

This change is largely a reflection of upheaval in

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. (Gimode, 2001).

Additionally, at a time when Kenyan society was experiencing this increase in criminal behavior, its political context was transforming from a one-party dictatorial rule to a pluralistic and multi-party democracy. The emerging political parties were, and still are, largely based on traditional ethnic loyalties. In this context, political feuds based on long standing regional and ethnic animosities have resulted in frequent outbreaks of “politically instigated violence” (Akama 1999). In addition to frequent episodes of violence in the Rift Valley, in August of 1997, violence erupted near the major tourist destination of Mombasa. Armed men carried out raids targeting individuals and businesses belonging to non-local ethnic groups. The incident lasted weeks; 104 were killed, 133 were injured, and 100,000 were displaced (Human Rights Watch 2002).

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. 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. This disparity has led to considerable tension and eventually to the outbreak of violent inter-tribal

conflicts.

hard by the downturns in 2002. The larger and better connected traders (usually Kikuyu) were able to shift locations and seek out places where there were tourists, but smaller local entrepreneurs were often

forced out of the tourist trade and returned to subsistence agriculture.

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.

Kareithi (2003) suggests that the informal sector providers of handicrafts were hit especially

This finding suggests that the

In spite of these difficulties, tourism has become Kenya’s leading economic sector, outpacing agricultural exports like tea and coffee for the first time in 2004 (see Table 1), 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. There continues to be little local level planning involvement in the tourism sector. A recent review of World Bank involvement in the tourism industry (Hawkins and Mann, 2007) indicates that the lack of local level planning was part of the problem with the tourism sector in Kenya.

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, but emphasized that little attention was given to improved planning, management, and conservation of these natural endowments. (Hawkins and Mann, 2007, p. 355)

The results have been over-crowding and environmental degradation, as well as an uneven distribution of

the benefits of tourist investments.

Table 1 about here

At the same time that Kenya was experiencing volatility in society and its leading industry,

government policy was focused on increasing foreign investment in the tourism sector. The government’s

emphasis was on promoting large scale projects that were mostly owned and managed by foreign or

multinational companies, resulted in foreign dominance in the industry with over 50% of all hotels under

foreign ownership, management, and control (Sindiga,1996) . 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.

At the same time, the large numbers of Italian tourists visiting the region patronize the Italian facilities,

spending very little in locally owned facilities (Akama, 1997) and contributing to a leakage of tourist

revenues back to Italy.

This all had a profound tarnishing effect on Kenya as a tourist destination. From 1990 to 2003

tourist arrivals in Kenya have ranged from as low as 782,000 arrivals in 1992 to as high as 928,000

arrivals in 1994 with no real gains until after 2003 (WTO). Over the same time period, the hospitality

industry saw a contraction in available bed-places as hotels slashed their prices and many went out of

business (WTO, Sindiga 1996). As indicated in Table 2, the number of bed-places reached a high for the

decade of the 90s in 1995 with 34,211 places, but this number dropped precipitously so that by 2002 there

were just 21,276.

Table 2 about here

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, it is an area that has not been well researched. The typical model used to estimate international tourism demand focuses on three factors: income of the sending country, transportation costs incurred by tourists, and tourism prices in the receiving county. Besides being well placed within economic theory, these variables are consistently empirically important (Lim 1999) and capture important global macroeconomic factors such as exchange rates, fuel prices, and the ebb and flow of international economies.

Clearly though, other factors become important as individuals make tourism consumption choices. As seen in the experience of the unstable tourism industry in Kenya between the late 1980’s and 2003, the threat or perceived threat of instability or violence is eminently important to individual tourists (Ryan, 1993; Richter, 1999; Lepp and Gibson, 2003). While threats to tourists in Kenya are real, in that, tourists have been mugged or even killed on occasion, the perception of risk is paramount to the industry because it influences present and future travel choices. Perceived risk is an individual’s assessment of a negative experience associated with a purchase or experience (Dowling & Staelin 1994). An individual’s perception of risk, when making tourism consumption choices, is usually based on demographic characteristics of the individual. The categories of risk commonly identified include health and well- being, criminal harm, transportation performance, travel service performance, travel and destination environment, monetary concerns, and property crime (Simpson & Siguaw 2008). Within these categories of risk, issues of personal safety are always of the highest priority to potential tourists ((Reisinger & Mavondo 2005, Simpson & Siguaw 2008).

Neumayer (2004) conducted an expansive quantitative study on the effect of various forms of political violence on tourism. The study found evidence that human rights violations, 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. 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. The finding that the effect of violence on arrivals is magnified in countries that are even “mildly dependent on tourism receipts” (Neumayer, 2004, p. 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 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.

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. This review highlights the need to “manage” violence in the public eye as a crisis in the tourism industry. 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. This approach can be seen clearly in Kenya during the tourism sector’s lauded recovery from 2003-2007. The Tourism Trust Fund was established in 2001 as a joint venture between the Government of Kenya and the European Union. Among the many objectives and programs launched by the TTF, the Tourism Recovery Management Plan(TRMP) began in 2003. 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. (Beirman 2008, TTF 2006) The recovery seen between 2003-2007, where tourist arrivals met or exceeded the 10% annual growth rate experienced in the sector prior to the late 1980’s, is largely credited to this program and other ongoing and similar efforts (Beirman 2008, TTF 2006).

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. However, the focus on stimulating demand neglected to provide resources to maintain the high quality of the Kenyan tourist product. While the tourism sector in Kenya owes a great deal of its success to early investment in transport infrastructure and policy planning, these arenas have been largely neglected. The great expansion of tourism in this period was accomplished without clearly laid out regulations and procedures related to location, environmental protection or distribution of facilities (Akama 2002). Likewise, the transport infrastructure in Kenya is well known for its state of disrepair.

Although most planning in Kenya is highly centralized, in the case of tourism there is a tendency to rely on foreign experts to develop master plans for the sector. The most recent master plan for Tourism was no exception as it was conducted by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The resulting product is theoretically sound, but lacks clearly defined implementation mechanisms for financing and local plan implementation (Akama, 2002). The projected growth rate of 11% is ambitious at best, and in the light of recent events seems a near impossibility. 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).

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. 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. During the first six months of 2008 the tourist industry experienced disastrous short term consequences. 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 600,000 people of the Luo and Kikuyu tribes (Gettleman 2008). The impact on tourism has been immediate and extensive. Marete (2008) estimates that initially tourist arrivals dropped by 90% and tourism revenues are expected to drop by $84 million (BBC News, Feb 12, 2008). 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, 2008).

While it seems Kenya is gearing up for another re-imaging campaign similar to the TRMP of 2003, the magnitude of negative press reports about Kenya have been staggering. Figures 2 and 3 respectively illustrate the sheer volume of negative publicity generated in two key markets (New York and London). With such intensive coverage of this gruesome violence, 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.

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, 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. Because the post election violence resulted in very large volume of negative images associated with the country as a result, the subsequent global economic downturn has greatly exacerbated the problem. While this

unfortunately means that a speedy recovery of the sector is less likely, 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.

The Kenyan tourist industry owes a large part of its existence to early substantial transport infrastructure investment seen in the colonial era. This gave Kenya a leg up relative to many nations with similar amenities, 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. In recent history, however, the overall condition of infrastructure, especially the national road network, is frequently listed as a major limiting factor to expanding the industry. As mentioned earlier, the road network neglect generally began in the 1990’s and since then it has largely fallen into disrepair. 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). The condition of the road network, 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). Typical safari packages have higher end price tags, 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. As it is, some of the most popular sites, for instance Maasai Mara, are only accessible by terrible, often impassable roads or by charter plane. Both options drive up the cost for potential tourists to visit the site. Additionally, 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).

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. For Kenyan purposes, the global economic downturn coupled with the sector losses associated with the post election violence, could provide an opportunity to make significant public sector investments. To do this, however, there will likely need to be a break from the past in terms of local infrastructure financing. Frequently, local tourist infrastructure is predicated on local tourist receipts. To continue the Maasai Mara example; during the last crisis in the tourist sector prior to the recovery in 2003, the local Narok County Council oversaw the maintenance of the transportation links around the park. The funds used to carry on these activities were generated from park entry fees. As tourist revenues dried up, so did the Council’s ability to maintain the roads. This compounded the economic downturn as local businesses were unable to cope without ready access to supplies (Kareithi 2003). During a downturn in the tourism sector, public

infrastructure funding will need to be supplemented by central government funds to ensure continuity in basic infrastructure needed to support tourism.

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. To reiterate Tosun argues that meaningful community participation is dependent on: 1) pressure for both external sources and local constituents, 2) an emerging political commitment to participatory processes, and 3) the re-shaping of local and national administrative functions to permit greater participation in planning and executing tourism policy.

The assessment of Tosun’s first criteria, that there are external and local sources of pressure for greater participation, must be considered a mixed bag. Unfortunately the World Bank has moved away from supporting tourism initiatives (Hawkins and Mann, 2007). However, there is certainly external interest in the sector from other donors. The European Union appears ready to play a key role in promoting economic recovery for the tourism industry. As a part of the partnership, 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. 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. But concrete steps to apply such pressure are not yet visible.

Pressure from local citizens for a greater role in community based tourism planning is also not yet in place. Smoke (2008) suggests that local level planning has been hindered by weak participatory mechanisms because local civil societies are not well developed. The task for community based planning will be to reinvigorate such institutions. 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. There should be local participation in the design, implementation, and management of tourism projects in their communities. 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). 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.

Tosun’s second criteria, a political commitment to wider participation, also remains to be

demonstrated in the Kenyan context. The Kenyan government’s continued reluctance to allow greater

local participation in planning in part due to fear of continued ethnic unrest (Smoke 2003). However, the

current high levels centralization in Kenya did not prevent the terrible ethnic conflicts of 2008. It would

appear that a different strategy based on local participatory processes might be an important means of

reinvigorating the tourism sector. The recent spate of violence and inarticulate mob expression of

dissatisfaction has clearly applied pressure for real change; it remains to be seen if this pressure is

sufficient. Furthermore as Kenya emerges from the election violence of 2008 with its coalition

government, it is unclear whether such a state will be willing to change directions and encourage more

participatory development.

In this kind of post conflict situation there are clear benefits to a new and more participatory

planning approach. Brinkerhoff (2005) argues that attention to basic infrastructure and services is an

important means of re-establishing trust at the local level.

Rebuilding effectiveness has to do, first and foremost, with the functions and capacity of the public sector. Good governance in this area means, for example, adequate and functioning municipal infrastructure, widely available health care and schooling, provision of roads and

transportation networks and attention to social safety nets…

ethnic tension, weak states’ inability/unwillingness to do so can be an important contributing factor to state failure and the eruption of renewed conflict. (Brinkerhoff, 2005, p. 6).

Particularly when coupled with

Brinkerhoff (2005) goes on to suggest that that decentralization can help to heal ethnic conflicts by

creating more local autonomy, establishing mechanisms to resolve conflicts over resource distribution and

local service delivery, and setting up a virtual laboratory within which skills for resolving ethnic and

political conflicts can be developed.

Tosun’s third criteria, the re-shaping of administrative functions to facilitate local level planning

is not yet met, but might be considered in process. 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, 1990). There have been numerous attempts by donor

agencies to reinvigorate local level governance and promote wider participation with only modest

success. Efforts such as the District Focus for Rural Development Strategy (DFRDS) provided the patina

of a genuine local development effort, but has not yet reduced the trend of centralization of local authority

and control by the Ministry of Local Government (Wallis, 1990, Southall and Wood, 1996). Smoke

(2004) argues that one key to effective decentralization in the Kenyan context is local fiscal reform since

for many years local governments have had very little control of locally collected revenues and have not had the authority to assess additional revenues.

Conclusions

While Kenya may not yet meet all of Tosun’s criteria for broad-based community tourism planning, many of the elements are at least in play. Furthermore given the nature of the ongoing economic crisis, funds for an intensive tourism marketing program may be scarce. In the mean time, rather than letting the crisis go to waste the government could seize the moment and take steps to reinvigorate local planning and governance capacity.

There are opportunities provided by the current downturn and the ongoing visioning process. For instance, Kenya is attempting to develop its cultural tourist offerings while also maintaining its major attractions. Tosun (2001) states that tourist do not merely visit attractions, but communities. In Kenya, this will increasingly be the case with the development of cultural tourism. There will be effect, positive and negative on host communities. Community participation on an appropriate scale would help to mitigate the negative and expand the positive in these instances. Likewise, it could be politically viable.

Clearly long term solutions to these problems need to be a top priority of the government. That said, there could be opportunities to involve long term tourism sector planning in those efforts. 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. These include upgrading road network infrastructure, the development of at least one of three proposed new resort cities, upgrading facilities at existing but underutilized sites and parks throughout Kenya, and the promotion, through training and awareness campaigns, of local tourism entrepreneurship. Additionally, 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.

A document like this is always a grand vision with a wish list of projects and programs. As such, it is unlikely to be completed in full or on time. However, it does suggest a continued commitment to and reliance on the tourism sector regardless of the exact projects or programs selected to foster growth. As with major infrastructure investments, the down turn also affords time and opportunity to Kenya to adjust its tourism planning. 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

associated with the project. Having said that, 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, but also the underlying conflict within Kenyan society. Once the mechanisms for sustainable tourism planning are put in place, it will be time for an extensive marketing campaign. 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.

Table 1 Comparison of Foreign exchange earning (KSh 000) between Tourism, Tea and Coffee

Year

Horticulture

%

Tea

%

Tourism

%

Total

2000 13900

10

35150

26

21553

16

134527

2001 20200

14

34485

23

24239

16

147590

2002 26700

16

34376

20

21734

13

169283

2003 28800

16

33005

18

25768

12

183154

2004 32600

15

36072

17

39200

18

214793

2005 38800

16

42291

17

48900

20

244198

Source: Statistical Analysis of Tourism Trends, Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, 2006

16

Table 2 Tourist Arrivals in Kenya (overnight visitors), bed-nights, international tourism receipts from 1990-2006 and estimates for 2007-2009 as indicated

 

Tourist Arrivals (Overnight visitors)

 

International Tourism

Bed-Nights *

Receipts

(Thousands)

(Thousands)

(US $ Millions)

1990

814

5827

466

1991

805

6118

432

1992

782

6424

442

1993

826

6745

413

1994

928

7082

627

1995

896

7436

447

1996

925

7808

465

1997

907

8199

385

1998

792

8609

290

1999

862

9,039

485

2000

899

9,491

500

2001

828

9,966

536

2002

825

10,464

513

2003

927

10,987

619

2004

1193

11,536

799

2005

1536

12,113

969

2006

1644

12,719

1182

**

2007 1760

NA

NA

**

2008 1056

NA

NA

**

2009 1035

NA

NA

Information from the World Tourism Organization’s Compendium of Tourism Statistics

* Bed-Nights = bed-places times occupancy times 365.

** 2007 estimates only assuming same growth as 2006-2007, 2008 Estimate from WTO Tourism Barometer October 2008, 2009 estimates from January 2009 WTO Economic Crisis memo projecting a highly optimistic 2% drop worldwide

Figure 1 Actual and estimated versus predicted (11%) growth rate of tourist arrivals in Kenya 1984-2009

Tourist Arrivals 1981-2007, Estimated (2007- 2009) and Predicted (11% Growth from 1997) 3500 3000 2500
Tourist Arrivals 1981-2007, Estimated (2007- 2009) and Predicted (11%
Growth from 1997)
3500
3000
2500
2000
Kenya
11% Growth Rate
1500
1000
500
0
Timeline
Arrivals (000)
1981
1983
1985
1987
1989
1991
1993
1995
1997
1999
2001
2003
2005
2007
2009

Actual Tourist Arrivals (overnight visitors) found in World Tourism Organization’s Compendium of Tourism Statistics, various editions.

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.

2007-209 estimated as follows: 2007 assuming same growth as 2005-2006; 2008 assuming 40% Kenyan tourism reduction, (WTO Tourism Barometer, October 2008); 2009 estimated 2 % worldwide tourism decline for 2009 (WTO Press Release Jan 27, 2009)

Figure 2 Media References in the New York Times for Kenya and Violence or Terrorism from 1981 to

2008

160 140 120 100 80 60 Kenya & Violence 40 Kenya & 20 Terrorism 0
160
140
120
100
80
60
Kenya &
Violence
40
Kenya &
20
Terrorism
0
1981198219831984198519861987198819891990199119921993199419951996199719981999200020012002200320042005200620072008
Time Periods
Number of Reports
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

New York Times search for Kenya and Violence conducted November 3, 2008

New York Times search for Kenya and Terrorism conducted November 7, 2008

19

Figure 3 Media references in the BBC for Kenya and Violence or Terrorism from 1998 to 2008

40 35 30 25 Kenya and Violence 20 Kenya and Terrorism 15 10 5 0
40
35
30
25
Kenya and Violence
20
Kenya and Terrorism
15
10
5
0
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
TIme Period
Number of reports
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

BBC search for Kenya and Violence conducted October 27, 2008 BBC search for Kenya and Terrorism conducted October 28, 2008

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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. Her research interests include development planning in the Middle East and Africa, decentralization, community partiucpation, tourism planning, and gender and development.

John Harris is a doctoral student in the Department of Urban and Regional Panning at Florida State University. He spent two years based in Kenya with the Mennonite Central Committee with primary responsible for Southern Sudan.

Kate Harris is a master’s student in the Department of Urban and Regional Panning at Florida State University. 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.