Tourism is a key sector in the growth and development of a country as it is a major source of foreign income earner.
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The tourism industry is vulnerable to adverse negative effects caused by political and other economic factors, and hence major stakeholders of the industry need to be at the forefront in the efforts aimed at protecting the industry. Among many forms of tourism, adventure tourism, is the major form of tourism carried out due to various forms of motivation, which this paper explores.
Tourism is an important sector for the growth and development of an economy on top of being one of the major sources of foreign income earners in a country. Every country has attraction sites that are of interest to both local and foreign tourists into a country. Tourism also creates job opportunities in a country courtesy of the hospitality industry and the conservation of the attraction sites.
Both local citizens and the government are the major stakeholders in the conservation of the attraction sites. The government involves the local communities around such sites by considering them for job opportunities and other benefits such as the provision of social amenities such as the construction of basic facilities like schools, hospitals, and security facilities.
Hence, tourism causes social and economic development to a community around a tourists’ attraction site.
Adventure Tourism and its Motivating Factors
Adventure tourism is one of the major forms of tourism across the world. Tourists venture into it for both fun and exploration purposes (Bain, 2013). It involves travelling to different places in the world while aiming at learning new things concerning culture, landscapes, geographical, and creational features from the places of destinations around the world.
The many scholarly studies on tourism, such as Sindiga (2000) and others, consider adventure tourism as a major cause of discoveries around the world for discoverers left their homes yearning for adventure in other places and learned new things at the place of destination or along the way to such places.
Adventure tourism is the most diverse form of tourism for tourists seek adventure for various reasons and thus they tour different places, which have different forms of stakeholders. For instance, a European tourist can decide to attend a business function in an African nation such as Kenya, which is a major tourist destination in East Africa due to its richness in wildlife, culture heritage, good climate, and geographical features.
Upon arrival into the country, the tourist may decide to visit a few tourist attraction sites for adventurous reasons. Hence, adventure tourism happens for various reasons and at times due to arising opportunities as opposed to an ultimate purpose as in the example above (Pineda &Brebbia, 2012).
Going by the afore mentioned example, adventure tourism has various forms of stakeholders, which include the government, tourists or consumers, the involved communities, industry enterprises, non-governmental organisations, and travelling agents.
Government as a Shareholder
Government plays a major role in the tourism industry by creating a conducive environment to attract both local and foreign tourists. From the Kenyan economic growth and development statistics, it is clear that the tourism sector contributes to more than 15 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (Sindiga, 2000). Therefore, tourism is a major economic sector for growth and development of the economy of Kenya.
The Kenyan government plays a major role in the growth and development of the country’s tourism sector. It has the mandate of marketing the country’s richness in tourists’ attractions sites to the potential clients across the world. It does marketing over influential media houses such as the Cable News Network (CNN), and since the inception of the idea, the country has experienced a major growth of the sector in the last few years.
However, this idea came into being in the year 2008 after experiencing post-election violence in the year 2007-2008 that led to the country’s security being questioned. Hence, the government and other stakeholders opted for marketing through the Ministry of Tourism as an effort to assure tourists of a guaranteed security. Therefore, the government plays a major role in ensuring that the security of tourists is guaranteed.
The government also boosts the country’s tourism by providing taxation incentives to the imported goods intended for the growth of the tourism sector. In addition, it provides funds for infrastructural development of the sector. In Kenya, the roads that lead to the major tourists’ attraction sites are in good condition, which is an effort of the government to promote tourism in the country.
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Moreover, the government is a major stakeholder in the conservation of the attraction sites across the country. In Kenya, the government conserves wildlife through the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), which manages all wildlife conservations programs in the country (Sindiga, 2000).
In addition, the government conserves the culture and heritage of the Kenyan people through the Kenya Museum Services for both local and foreign tourisms. Hence, the government is a major stakeholder for conservation of tourist attraction sites.
Tourists as Stakeholders
Tourists, who are the consumers in the tourism sector, are major stakeholders in the tourism sector. They bring foreign income to the country of destination and hence the growth and development of the economy. Tourism creates job opportunities to the local citizens in the institutions that cater for the conservation of tourists’ attraction sites and the hospitality industry.
In addition, tourism causes infrastructural developments of areas that attract tourists such as good maintenance of roads, provision of electric power, and water services to such areas. Hence, tourists are key stakeholders in the tourism sector of an economy (Williams &Soutar, 2005).
Communities as Stakeholders
Communities also play a key role in the tourism sector. Communities are nearly equal to the government in the contribution towards the growth and development of the tourism sector in an economy. Communities around the tourists’ attraction sites play a major role in the conservation of the environment in those sites and security through community policing.
In addition, they carry out activities aimed at attracting tourists to such destinations, which include dancing, exhibiting their cultural heritage in marriages, dressing, and other cultural activities. In addition, communities living near the tourists’ attraction sites also play a major role in doing businesses with the tourists. They set up business shops around the attraction sites where they sell their local wares to the tourists.
For instance, visiting one of the worlds leading attraction sites such as the Pyramids of Egypt and the China’s Great Wall, one finds the local communities selling products to the tourists in some kiosks; in addition, the communities provide services such as hotel and restaurant, lodging facilities, and photo studio shops.
Tourist Industry Enterprises
Industry enterprises are major stakeholders in the tourist sector in an economy. The industry that benefits most from tourism is the hotel industry, which offers hospitality services to the tourists. The world’s most valuable hotels, viz. the five stars and seven stars, serve as the best accommodation facilities for tourists.
For instance, Miami’s Hilton Hotel is the best accommodation facility for tourists along the Miami Beach in the United States and it serves mainly as a tourists’ accommodation facility rather than any other business.
These enterprises are key elements of economic growth and development of a country as they provide job opportunities for local communities. In addition, they serve as tourists’ attraction facilities as a tourist considers the availability and nature of the hospitality facilities in a country of destination before embarking on adventure tourism.
For instance, a tourist who needs to go for an adventure in South Africa must look into the nature of available hotels and restaurants that are available at the area of destination before embarking on the ultimate trip.
The ultimate decision for travelling lies on the nature of the hotels available in such places, and upon finding that they are of poor quality, there is a high likelihood of not embarking on that trip. Hence, the hospitality industry is a key element in the tourism sector for it attracts tourists.
Non-Governmental Organisations as Stakeholders
Non-governmental organisations are important stakeholders in the tourism industry (Novelli, 2005). In most cases, non-governmental institutions attract tourists both directly and indirectly. Some non-governmental institutions carryout humanitarian activities such as rehabilitation of slums and other community based activities that attract tourists who contribute to the progress of such activities in a country.
The major non-governmental tourist attraction institutions fall under the United Nations (UN) and they include the World Health Organisation that caters for hygienic and health status of a community. Other organisations attract tourists indirectly through conservation of the environment and they include the Greenbelt Movement that conserves forests in Africa.
Upon conserving the African forests, the wildlife sector improves and thus serves as tourists’ attracting institution in a country. In addition, tourists go for adventure in areas where such institutions are practising and serve as volunteers or donors in the development of the affected communities.
Travelling Agents as Stakeholders
Travelling agents are key stakeholders in the world’s adventure tourism industry. Tourism promotes worlds transport industries in a great manner.
According to the majority of tourists, travelling is an adventure, and thus adventure tourism accompanied by adventurous travelling where a transport company plays a key role sums up the concept of adventure tourism(Smith, & Weiler, 2012). Some transport companies have specialised in the tourism industry, and thus their main work is to provide transport for tourists as they journey to the attraction sites in a country.
Motivating Factors to the Tourist
Among the major factors that motivate tourists is adventure in the case of adventure tourism. Adventure is good for knowledge acquaintance and soothing a person’s mind in the case of exploration and leisure respectively.
Adventure tourism is a pre-planned adventure that results from a personal desire to have a physical experience over something he or she has heard or learned about from different sources of information. For instance, an adventurous tourist may go to China to visit The Great-Wall of China for the sake of having a physical experience, but they are armed with knowledge of its existence and history (Shepard & Evans, 2005).
Products for Adventure Tourism
The most common types of products available for the adventurous tourism include wildlife, historical sites, geographical features, and cultural diversity. Wildlife is a major form of tourists’ attraction especially in the African Sub-Saharan regions of Kenya and Tanzania. Adventurous tourists visit such regions for the sake of wildlife adventures.
Historical sites attract adventurous tourists in the regions that have rich historical sites such as the Pyramids of Egypt and the Great-wall of China among others. Adventurous tourists visit those regions to have physical experience over the historical sites that are physically visible (Shapard, 2005).
Geographical features also attract adventurous tourists in a great way. For instance, adventurous tourists visit India’s Himalaya Mountainous regions just to have experience over the beautiful ranges. In addition, the East African region is home for the Great Rift Valley, which attracts adventurous tourists from all over the world.
Lastly, cultural diversity attracts adventurous tourists who need to have experience over different forms of culture. In some cases, adventurous tourists visit the Maasai community of Kenya just to experience their rich cultural heritage.
Impacts of the Development of Adventurous Tourism
There are both negative and positive impacts of adventurous tourism. On the positive impacts, adventurous tourism causes economic development of the beneficiary countries of tourists’ destinations. Secondly, tourists experience new culture that advances their knowledge and understanding of some world’s communities.
Thirdly, adventurous tourism provides job opportunities for local communities living around the tourists’ attraction sites. On the other hand, the major disadvantage of adventurous tourism is increasing misconceptions over the knowledge of some cultures and communities (McCool & Moisey, 2008).
Some adventurous tourists visit some regions to experience the cultural heritage of some communities with an assertion that that community is poor and marginalised as it has been the case with the Maasai community of Kenya and Tanzania.
Development in technology is negatively affecting adventurous tourism as tourists’ guiding is done online unlike in the past where tourist guides provided information to the tourists (Beard, Swarbrooke & Leckie, 2013). Hence, tourists’ guides are losing their jobs.
As aforementioned, the development in technology is negatively affecting adventurous tourism for tourists’ guiding is done online unlike in the past where tourist guides would accompany tourists during their stay in a given place. Consequently, in the future, the role of tourists’ guides will become obsolete and thus cause unemployment in different countries.
Another major challenge to the future of adventure tourism is the increased cost of tourism due to the hiking in the cost of products across the world. Hence, tourism is slowly declining and people working in the tourism industry are losing their jobs (Pineda &Brebbia, 2012).
In the quests to sustain meaningful growth in adventure tourism, it would be necessary for governments and other stakeholders to work hard in ensuring the avoidance tourists’ exploitation rather they are encouraged to venture into both local and foreign tourism.
Many people perceive tourism as a luxurious venture, hence exploiting tourists by hiking the prices for basic products. Tourist shops such as African curio shops sell their products at exaggerated prices, which make such products unaffordable to the majority of both local and international tourists.
Summary of the Report Findings
The report found the adventure tourism as the major of tourism. Tourism industry has many stakeholders and the most influential being the government and the communities that live around the tourist attraction sites. However, it was found that, being a key sector in the economic development, tourism should be protected and governed by every individual for the betterment of the sector.
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