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Equitours’ Organization: Tourism Destinations Research Paper


Introduction

Tourism is a vital economic activity for every country. Over the last few decades, several governments have come up with strategies of promoting the activity (Hinch & Higham, 2004). Equitours is a leading organizer and consultant of horse riding tours in various destinations around the world (Welcome to Equitours, 2014). The company has been in operation for over 40years. Its horseback riding services provide an interesting opportunity of exploring tourist attraction sites in a unique way. To obtain an analysis of the company’s demand and supply, this paper assesses wildlife in Kenya, natural scenery and landscapes in Arizona, and horseback riding in ranches situated in Patagonia Argentina.

Wildlife makes the largest portion of Kenya’s tourist attraction. Kenya has several wildlife national parks and game reserves (Abubakar & Shanka, 2006). Equitours horse riding began its operation in Kenya in 1979 at the Maasai Mara national park. Mel and Bayard Fox, who are both the founders of Equitours, started the organization (Stellin, 2006). Ever since then, the country has become a favourite destination. The guests are allowed to take horseback rides around the Wyoming ranch in the national park.

Equitours horseback riding in Patagonia is undertaken on a 15,000-acre cattle ranch, which is located at the foothills of the Andes (Stalcup, 2007). The horseback riding offers a clear view of vast open grasslands. Usually, guests are allowed take part in moving the cattle to new pastures. Here, guests can take the rides in the Andes, where they can view snow capped-mountains, lakes, hills, and rivers. Patagonia offers strong riding horses, beautiful scenery and modernized accommodations.

On the other hand, Arizona and Utah regions offer fascinating sceneries (Church, 2008). The Equitours provide horseback riders a means of exploring amazing sceneries and landscapes. Arizona has Mesas tower that rises several feet above the plain, saguaro cactus, deserts, and the biggest canyon in the world. All these provide beautiful sceneries, especially during the sunsets hence a suitable for horse riding vacations. In addition, the guest riders have a chance to observe rich cultures, which include Navajo culture.

Demand and supply analysis

Demand in general is the quantity of a service or a product that buyers desire at a particular market price. Tourism demand refers to the total persons who travel or plan to travel to tourist attraction sites, which are usually away from their residential places. Tourism demand is supported by the existence of the tourists attraction mix. For any tourist destination to succeed, it should offer quality services to boost tourism demand. In Kenya, wildlife attraction contributes a large portion of tourism demand. The demand for horseback riding in Kenya’s wildlife national parks is increasing since it is a fascinating activity. The report and data collected by the ministry tourism Kenya supports the increase in demand for tourism (Saarinen, 2013). There several factors, which have contributed to demand for tourism in Kenya. They include good infrastructure, large number of attraction sites, rich culture, security, standard accommodation facilities, and diverse wildlife.

Since 2011, tourist arrivals have increased due to the improved security. Kenya military forces cracked down al-Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia enhancing security in the region. Data from the ministry of tourism Kenya indicate that the total number of tourists in 2012 was 1,265,136 as compared to 1,095,842 in 2010 (Mayaka & Prasad, 2012). This represents an increase of 15%. The number of tourists from China and India, which are new markets in the Kenyan industry, aided the increase in demand. It resulted in an increase in 32% of the country’s revenue. Analysis of tourism demand in Kenya indicates that the state of security determines the number of tourist arrivals.

UK is the largest market for Kenya’s tourism and it translated to 203,290 in 2011, and it is followed by the USA, which accounted for 119,615. Within Africa, Uganda was the biggest market with 42,647 tourists followed by South Africa that contributed for 38,354 arrivals. Based on the Kenya National Bureau of statistics, the number of arrivals during 2013 were 2,061,127 and it is projected to hit 2,267,240 in the 2014 (Saarinen, 2013). The number of domestic tourists in Kenya is on the rise due to awareness of the destination sites and the subsidized fees by the government. Local tourists increase the demand for tourism within the country.

The demand for horseback riding from the Equitours in Maasai Mara is on an increase because the overall demand for tourism in Kenya is increasing. In Kenya, Wildlife is diverse and most of the national parks have wildlife acting as the major tourist attraction (Pearce & Butler, 2009). The Maasai Mara Safari is fascinating for most horse riders because the rides offer them with opportunities to see a number of wild animals in their natural habitat. The local community, the Maasai, has an interesting culture that attracts a number of tourists to the region.

The analysis of tourism demand in Arizona with respect to horseback riding is important in understanding the tourism industry in the region. It helps the government in formulating strategies, which are necessary for the success of the tourism industry. Several attraction sites contribute to tourism demand in Arizona. They include the spectacular riding tour through national parks located in remote places. Another important adventure is the winter ride that takes place in the rocky Grand Canyon and ponderosa forests. The canyon offers cattle and wildlife place to shelter during winter season. The lodging sales have increased to $500million in 2012 translating to 4.4% increase from 2011 sales. This follows 3.9% and 4.6 % increase in 2009 and 2010 respectively (Saarinen, 2013).

The tourist arrivals in Arizona have been on an increasing trend since 2010. In 2012, the arrivals increased by 6.7% and increased by 5.8% in 2011.The total number of tourists was 27.2 million in 2011 and 29 million 2012. The above statistics indicate that the demand in tourism in Arizona is increasing steadily due to favourable exchange rates in reference to the US dollar. The report released by the Arizona office of Tourism (AOT) indicated that both domestic and international tourists spend 36.9 million on each night (Saarinen, 2013).

AOT deals with the travel industry, taxation, and related works in the Grand Canyon State. As such, tourism contributes $ 48 million into Arizona’s economy. Actually, the demand for tourism, especially on horseback riding is rising since it is fun to ride on a beautiful scenery of Arizona. The visitors from Canada in 2010 were 650,000 (Saarinen, 2013). The above figures represented a 16.5 % increase compared to 2009’s figures. For the last few years, the economy of Arizona has been largely funded by tourism indicating the demand for tourism is increasing.

2010 ($billions) 2011 ($billions) 2012 ($billions)
Spending 17.5 4.9 154.3
Earnings 18.5 5.1 157.1
Employment 19.3 5.4 161.3

Figure: Arizona Travel trends between 2010 and 2012.

On the other hand, tourism demand in Argentina has been on an increase, as evidenced in the data by the Secretaria El Calafate. The tourist visitor’s index was 110.924 in the year 2006, and it increased to 174.943 in the year 2011. This clearly indicates that the demand for tourism is increasingly turning Argentina into a major a tourist destination country. It implies that the tourism in Patagonia with a combination of horseback riding is on increasing demand. Most of the people in Argentina trace their descendants to Spain, Italy, and France. As such, this is the reason why most of the tourism market is from European countries. For instance, tourists from France accounts for 15%, tourists from Spain accounts for 44%, and tourists from Germany accounts for 10% of the European tourists visiting Argentina. Patagonia offers great horse riding tourist attraction in the region and provides an opportunity for exploring other tourist attraction sites.

2011 2012 2013 2014
Earnings 98 120 133 143
Bed nights available 17,419,60 19,335,75 21,462,68 23,823,58
Bed nights occupied 7,015,200 7,997,328 9,116,954 10,393,32
Tourist arrivals 1,822,900 1,873,752 2,061,127 2,267,240
Tourism contribution to employment 778 788 799 810

Figure: Tourism projections compiled by WTTC Travel and Tourism (Kenya National Bureau of statistics 2012).

Supply in tourism refers to availing the goods and services that the tourist will enjoy and buy as they visit a tourist attraction site in a particular destination country (Goeldner & Ritchie, 2008). Supply entails a variety of attraction mix. Supply helps in shaping tourism demand of a particular country. The resources that are essential in tourism can be either manufactured or offered naturally by the environment. The telecommunication, transport, and accommodation facilities are the basic infrastructures and forms of tourism supply. Other services include car rental agents, visitor information agencies and travel advisory companies. The government of the destination country provides all these services and facilities. Tourism supply ensures that that tourism demand is met in the tourism industry.

Tourism supply in Kenya is able to meet the rising demand for tourism. For instance, the accommodation facilities in Kenya are enough for tourist visitors. From the above data on Kenya tourist, it is apparent that the number of bed nights available is more than bed nights occupied every year. For instance, bed nights available in 2012 were19, 335,756 while the bed nights occupied were 7,997,328.The above indicates that the services supplied is more than that demanded. Kenya has several hotels and resort facilities that can accommodate tourists visiting Kenya. Around Maasai Mara national park there resorts for tourists where they get food and accommodation services.

The Equitours horse riding at Maasai Mara supply is higher than the demand of the tourists. For the tourist wishing to camp within the park, food, wines hot showers and accommodation is provided. Kenya has several wildlife parks, cultural activities, and scenery to meet the increasing tourism market. The infrastructure and communication facilities are well conditioned thus facilitate tourism industry.

The tourism supply in Arizona is enhanced by good infrastructure of US and standard four and five star hotels to accommodate tourist visiting the Arizona. The horseback riding is suitable in Arizona and the availability of the above services helps to meet the demand of tourism. On the other hand, the demand for tourism in Argentina is able to meet the demand for tourism. For instance, the hotel bed trends indicate an increasing number in the number of tourists. In 2005, 19752000 hotel beds were occupied. The number rose to 103386000 in the year 2011. The restaurant supply was estimated at 18 216000 and 138528000 during the same years respectively. Actually, the hotels and restaurant accommodation facilities are inclining supporting the growing demand for tourism in Argentina and Patagonia in particular. The availability of riding horses in Patagonia region also helps to meet the growing demand for horseback riding by the Equitours.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT refers to a mechanism tool, which is used to indicate the strengths, opportunities, weaknesses, and threats that face an organization. Tourism industry just like any other organization has its strengths and weaknesses and it is the role of the government and the ministry of tourism in a given country to analyze SWOT to come up with strategies for improving the industry (Font, 2004).

In Kenya, there several strengths the industry is enjoying. Kenya is a renown tourist destination worldwide and most of international travellers are aware of its wildlife attraction sites. In addition, Kenya has a reputation for its diverse tourism and hospitality. Therefore, tourists enjoy visiting Kenya to see the variety of Wildlife in several national parks. Maasai Mara is one of the national parks that are rich in wildlife. The above arguments are supported by the increase in demand for tourism and increased supply for tourism in terms of hotels and accommodation facilities. Tourist arrivals were 1,873,752 in year 2012, 2,061,127 in 2013, and it is projected to hit 2,267,240 in 2014.

The above statistics show the existence of strengths that Kenya tourism is benefiting. Kenya has quality staff and well standard tourist facilities compared to other African countries. Another aspect that Kenya tourism derives its strength is the political stability. The country has a stable government. Therefore, both citizens and tourist visiting the country enjoy peace. Ministry of tourism in Kenya has embraced marketing strategies and advertising of the tourist attractions within the country. Tourists are able to know about all the existing tourist sites within the region. Similarly, the country is a conference tourism destination in Africa, and it enjoys the existence of NGOs, which play a great role in educating citizens on the importance of conserving wildlife and environment for tourism sustainable.

Despites its strengths, the Kenyan tourism have some weaknesses which affect the performance of the sector. Ministry of tourism lacks enough financial resources to develop efficient tourism marketing institutions (Irandu, 2004). The general poor infrastructure of roads in the country also is a challenge that the industry is facing. Poaching is another huge threat to Kenya wildlife since poachers target elephants and rhinos for ivory. Over reliance on fewer traditional markets is also another challenge the industry is facing since competitor markets might seek new markets (Sindiga, 2000). Lack of enough tourist security and agents is also another threat that the country is facing, as it leads to reduced number of tourists wishing to visit the country.

In Argentina, tourism enjoys several strengths in the industry. The availability of well-established infrastructure in Argentina helps to boost tourism within the country. The accommodation facilities are increasing as shown above. For instance, in 2005 the accommodation facilities in the restaurants and hotels were estimated at 19,752,000 and 18, 7216,000 (Moss, 2011). In 2011, the figures rose to 103, 386,000, and 138,528,000 respectively, indicating the existence of strengths in Argentina tourism. Other strengths observed are enhanced marketing and availability of information to visitors. Marketing of the horseback riding within the cattle ranches in Patagonia helps to increase the number of visitors in the region.

Equally, Argentina has had a stable government. Through this, peace within the country has been upheld hence tourists are sure of their safety during the visit to Argentina. Political stability boosts the number of visitors into the country, especially those who are coming to horse ride (Leiper, 2004). The government of Argentina has also come up with long public holidays to boost domestic tourism. For instance, the number of public holidays was 12 in 2009 and it increased to 19 in the year 2012. Most of these holidays were fixed on Mondays and Fridays to create long weekends. The strengths contribute to increase in tourism demand in Argentina and particularly the horse riding by visitors in the regions of Patagonia (Puri & Chand, 2009).

However, some weaknesses affect the industry. The exchange rate appreciated leading to decreased number of international tourists. The situation increased the expenditure of the tourists. The exchange rates also affected the accommodation’s investors as the operating costs increased, leading to fewer facilities for tourists. Poor policies and legal framework is another challenge that faces the tourism sector in Argentina. Another problem is the deficit in the finance of the Aerolineas Argentina, which is responsible for transportation of tourists (Withers, 2009). The federal government of Argentina has imposed huge charges on air traffic reducing the number of international tourists.

In Arizona, the presence of excellent infrastructure facilities in the United States is one of the most important strength in the tourism industry. The US government and the Arizona County have invested in infrastructure that ensures good roads and air facilities. Good infrastructures ensure accessibility of the tourist attraction site of Arizona thus leading to increased demand for tourism (Murthy, 2008). At 2010, tourists from Canada were estimated at 650,000, which represented a 16.5% increase from the previous years (O’gorman, 2010).

Arizona has standard hotels and restaurants to accommodate tourists during their visits. The weaknesses facing tourism in Arizona include the lack of variety of places to visit and limited accessibility for horse riding. Tourists like to visit places with numerous alternative attractions. In addition, the sector faces numerous competitions from sectors in the county. The beautiful scenery in Arizona faces competition from other destinations, which are renowned worldwide, especially those rich in wildlife and cultural activities.

SWOT analysis diagram for tourism in the three destinations.
Figure 2: SWOT analysis diagram for tourism in the three destinations.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it should be noted that each of the three destinations has strengths and weaknesses, which are either same or different to some degree (Laws, 2005). For instance, the diverse wildlife in Kenya is a major strength while in Arizona the standard infrastructure and accommodation facilities. In Argentina, the government’s introduction of public holidays and political stability are some of the strengths.

References

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