Kenya’s tourism industry is a major source of foreign cash. However, overseas tourists account for the majority of this earnings. International tourists, on the other hand, are not always able to support the tourism business, particularly during times of economic, political, and social crisis. Domestic tourism that is thriving can protect the sector from volatility in the international tourism market and provide stability and predictability. The goal of this study was to identify characteristics that influence urban and semi-urban local population tourism to Nairobi National Park (NNP) and make recommendations for how to improve it in Kenya. Semi-structured interviews and talks with people near the park were used to collect data for this study. The findings revealed that the park has been visited by a considerable (p 0.001) majority of the population (66 percent). The main recreational option provided by the park was viewed by approximately half of the attendees (59 percent). However, just around half of the residents had been to the park more than three times throughout their lives. The chance of the community visiting the park and appreciating its conservation benefit was influenced by their degree of education. Despite the fact that a lack of free time, a lack of interest in wildlife, or the belief that Kenya’s protected areas were only for foreign tourists were not barriers to locals visiting the parks, they noted that key constraints included a lack of extra disposable income, The high cost of food and hospitality services inside the park for local populations, as well as poor park marketing, particularly targeting local Kenyans, have hampered local Kenyans’ visits to protected areas. The poor promotion was cited by a substantial percentage of community members (81%) as the cause of low park visitors. Indeed, 96% responded that no type of NNP marketing had affected their decision to come. As a result, new domestic customer-oriented marketing and more welcoming hospitality services suited to local tourists are needed as part of government policy to boost the economy and release more disposable income for leisure activities in Kenya’s NNP and other protected areas.
Many factors influence tourism demand and inflows, ranging from economic and political to social, natural, and technical. Some of them are briefly covered here.
Tourism has grown as a result of two major environmental factors:
Good climate: Kenya has a good climate and it is one of the most significant aspects of any tourism destination. Tourists from temperate and colder countries are drawn to the area by its pleasant temperature, which is warm and sunny. The majority of seaside resorts in the United States and the United Kingdom, for example, are located in the warmer southeast. People from hotter climates, on the other hand, relocate to cooler climates to enjoy the benefits of a cool, fresh atmosphere
Lovely sceneries: Picnic spots with lovely landscapes experience a surge in tourism. Sunrise and sunset spots, huge stretches of beach, freshwater lakes, waterfalls, and other natural wonders, for example, frequently attract enormous crowds of visitors.
Factors of a socioeconomic nature
There are four major socioeconomic elements that drive tourism development:
Accessibility: This is the most crucial socioeconomic characteristic out of all of them. All tourist attractions must be easily accessible by a variety of modes of transportation, including roads, trains, planes, and water. Traveling on roads and railroads is a better option for experiencing nature’s gorgeous sites. If a visitor wants to get to a remote tour destination as quickly as possible, air travel is the best option. Waterways are rarely chosen unless a tourist wants to enjoy a luxury cruise at sea and/or visit an isolated archipelago.
Accommodation: Tourist attractions must be capable of providing adequate lodging and culinary services. The sort of lodging required by tourists is determined by their lifestyles, way of living, financial ability, and the nature of services expected, among other factors. Accommodation centers (i.e. numerous hotels, motels, dormitories, etc.) must be classified on the basis of star ratings, such as five stars and below, so that travelers may make the best decision and organize their journeys accordingly. In general, tourism thrives in regions where adequate hotel and eating facilities are accessible at affordable prices.
Amenities: The growth of tourism in a certain location is determined by important variables such as how effectively the site is maintained for touring activities such as skiing, roping, paragliding, rowing, fishing, surfing, safari adventures, and so on. Whether or not emergency services are available, and so forth.
Auxiliary services: If a tourist destination has ancillary (supplementary) services such as banking and finance, Internet and telecom connectivity, hospitals, insurance, and so on, it will be able to hold (retain) more tourists for longer periods of time. Overall, this contributes to the local economy to some extent.
Marketing: Tourist organizations all over the world spend a lot of money on various advertising initiatives in order to raise awareness of a particular country as a desirable tourist destination. Different countries and cultures are likely to react to marketing in different ways, and different locations have varying levels of capacity to use marketing effectively, making it challenging to accurately quantify the effects of destination promotion.
Cultural and historical influences
Previously, tourism and culture were seen as largely independent entities. Cultural resources were considered as part of a destination’s cultural history, linked to local population education and the underpinning of local or national cultural identities. Tourism, on the other hand, was mainly regarded as a leisure-related activity distinct from ordinary life and local culture. As the function of cultural attractions in driving tourists and separating locations from one another became more apparent toward the end of the century, this steadily changed. A variety of factors have aided the growing integration of culture and tourism.
Many tourists are drawn to historical sites and regions with a rich cultural past. People adore visiting places with notable old monuments, magnificent forts, castles and palaces of previous kings and queens, and so on.
People frequently travel to religious sites in order to find inner peace, receive blessings from their favorite deities and gurus, and achieve salvation before death, among other things. People’s faiths, beliefs, and sentiments all play a role in the rising tourism at holy sites.
Other causes might also contribute to the expansion of tourism in unexpected regions.
Attraction to the Country
Tastes differ from one person to the next. Furthermore, they evolve and alter throughout our lives. Age is simply one of many socioeconomic characteristics that determine traveler preferences. Different tastes are also influenced by a person’s gender, marital situation, and educational level. As a result of rising living standards, advertising, or innovation, they may change even more (Song et al., 2009). It’s tough to measure a variable that indicates tastes because there are so many affecting elements.
Incorporating a temporal trend is another technique to capture destination choice or popularity over time.
Risk aversion is a term used to describe those who dislike taking risks. Although this word is most commonly associated with investor behavior, it also applies to visitors’ aversion to taking risks. If they enjoyed their stay in a certain location, it is quite likely that they will return there again in the future. Traveling to a foreign place that they are unfamiliar with might be a source of uncertainty (Song et al., 2009).
They also inform their friends and relatives about how much fun they had and what they enjoyed best about the trip. Following that, the information becomes more widely disseminated. The so-called Word-of-Mouth (WOM) impact is responsible for this. Recent technological advancements, particularly in the field of digital social networking,
Tourism demand can be influenced by specific times of the year, such as a season or a period of school holidays. Typically, twelve seasonal dummy factors are included in the model when using monthly data, and four seasonal dummy variables are included when using quarterly data (Shareef et al., 2008).
So, these are some of the most important elements driving tourism growth.