HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 19TH INTER-UNIVERSITY SEMINAR ON SUSTAINABLE TOURISM
The success of any attraction is in its ability to create an environment that offers visitors the opportunity to have experiences they consider engaging, positive and memorable. Consuming tourism is all about consuming experiences. Destination experience should deliver to traveler’s rewards they anticipated for in their pre travel planning. The 19th Inter University Seminar held at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga discussed how tourism stakeholders could plan and manage the natural, cultural and built tourist attractions in Western Kenya Tourism Circuit to create competitive tourism experiences for a sustainable destination.
Tourism development in Western Tourism Circuit
Visitors to the Western Tourism circuit in Kenya have an option of choosing experiences based on a variety treasures the region boasts for tourism development. The circuit houses historical sites, inland beaches and a fresh water lake, nature conservancies, diverse cultures, mountains, game reserves and national parks, and urban centers ready for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism. The region is ideal for both business and leisure travelers, yet it is a sleeping giant.
Tailored products are needed to give new life to tourism in western circuit, which is a sleeping giant. Products can be tailored from a cultural perspective, as well as business travel perspective. This has to bear in mind the fact that product packaging is the first step in guaranteeing a quality experience. Destination features can enhance purposeful travel. When designing quality experiences, consideration has to be taken to balance traveler’s needs, host community perspectives, and the available tourism resources. Tourism planners should coordinate stakeholder efforts in linking attraction, activities, accommodation and access, to create quality experiences.
We Western, a tourism circuit organization in the region is working to revive tourism. The organization strongly believes that it is important to understand one’s backyard well to promote it as a tourism product. It therefore organizes sensitization tours to showcase tour operators from other regions, tourism products in western circuit.
Some of the challenges for tourism development in Western Kenya include; unpopulated areas, poor transport network, and competition from established regions. Also, appointments based on political allegiance, over professional qualifications even in the devolved government systems, do not aid promotion of tourism in regions.
On quality experience, satisfaction is very significant in determining expenditure patterns in a destination. Quality experience for tourists is based on satisfaction scores with various destination attributes. Higher satisfaction scores imply higher visitor expenditure in destinations. There is need for governments to map tourism circuits to sustainably market neglected regions. It is also important to embrace technology for sustainable tourism.
Outdoor Learning Activities
Learning excursion: Trip to Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Mausoleum.
Let’s Go Travel Uniglobe
Students and Faculty from JOOUST
Invited guests from Siaya County Government and Western Tourism Circuit Association
Universities in Attendance
University of Nairobi
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology-Host
Total number of Students in attendance: 97