A survey of potentials for adoption of e-commerce by tour operators in Nairobi: the case of Kenya association of tour operators' (KATO) members
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The focus of this study was to determine Tour Operators' preparedness and potentials for the adoption of e-cornmerce. The need for the study arises from the fact that whereas e-cornmerce is generally known to have a high potential in marketing tourism attractions globally, not much of e-cornmerce has been adopted in Kenya. Thus, this study is timely, and would provide a foundation for further research by revealing the state-of-the-art in the adoption of e-commerce amongst Kenya's Tour Operators. In this study, Tour Operators' readiness was assessed and evaluated in order to establish their potential for adoption of e-commerce. With increased number of holiday- makers wanting instant information on holiday destinations which could be availed bye-commerce and Internet, questions arise regarding (1) whether Tour Operators have addressed the basic requirements for adoption of e-cornrnerce. (2) Whether there is potential among Tour Operators to adopt the technology. Tour Operators were used in this study because they are key players in marketing Kenya as a tourist destination, and a large proportion of the tourist traffic in Kenya comprises tourists from countries where e-cornmerce technology has been :either adopted or is being considered for adoption. In order to answer the questions raised, data were collected using 196 questionnaires distributed to Tour Operators based in Nairobi. The data obtained consisted of level of readiness for adoption of e-commerce, awareness, and search for information on the technology. These data were subjected to descriptive statistics with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). The results revealed that: (1) most of the responding Tour Operators (68%) used computers in their operations and they had policies and budgets on acquisition and maintenance of their computers. (2) About 67% of the Tour Operators trained employees frequently on IT skills. A complete online procedure of conducting business lacked among the surveyed firms. A large proportion of Tour Operators (42%) used the Internet mainly for gathering information. The results also reveal some level of preparedness by Tour Operators since a large proportion (71.1) were connected to the Internet, the network through which e-commerce is conducted. More than half (52.9) of the Tour Operators were positive about adopting e-commerce within the shortest possible time. The conclusions reached were tentative and overall. These conclusions appeared to suggest that Tour Operators were prepared and had the potential to adopt e-commerce. The conclusions also appeared to suggest that Tour Operators, had potential to adopt e-commerce within the nearest foreseeable future.