Factors influencing the success of tourism ventures: a case of Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Laikipia County, Kenya
The research was undertaken on factors influencing the success of tourism ventures, a case study of Ol Pejeta conservancy Laikipia County, Kenya. This study was guided by the following objectives; to establish the extent to which poaching has influenced tourism activities in Ol Pejeta conservancy, to examine the extent to which human-wildlife conflict has influenced tourism in Ol Pejeta conservancy and to analyze the extent to which infrastructure affects tourism activities in Ol Pejeta conservancy and finally to establish how marketing has affected tourism in Ol Pejeta conservancy. The study employed descriptive survey design, the target population comprised the management staff of Ol Pejeta conservancy in all the six tourism ventures, a total of 46 staff where 43 completed and returned the questionnaires making a response rate of 93.48%. Census was used since all the management staff were the respondents. Purposive sampling was used to interview game rangers and KWS official. The main instruments for data collection were self-administered questionnaire and a structured interview schedules. There were ethical issues related to the study and they were addressed by maintaining high level confidentiality of the information volunteered by the respondents. Both quantitative and qualitative data was collected. The quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics by employing Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) and presented using tables. Qualitative data was analyzed using thematic analysis. It was expected that the results of the study was to be used to make recommendations on how to boost tourism within the conservancy. The findings of the study were that poaching affects tourism in OPC to a great extent and have a negative impact to tourism activities in the conservancy. Regarding Human-Wildlife conflict the study revealed it has influenced tourism in the conservancy to a great extent, it was noted that there was an increased cases of human wildlife conflict especially during the dry seasons. Further in regards to the influence of Infrastructure on tourism in the OPC, the study revealed that there is poor road network within the county which has influenced tourism in the conservancy to a great extent. Finally regarding the influence of marketing to tourism in Ol Pejeta conservancy the study revealed that the marketing strategies employed by OPC are not sufficient to help the conservancy achieve its target of maximum holding capacity of 95, 000. The study recommendations were; since poaching is both a local and global problem the county government should work closely with central government and other stakeholders like KWS, private sector and the community to fight poaching. There is need for community involvement in order to promote tourism in Ol Pejeta conservancy especially in regards to human-wildlife conflict resolution which has negatively influenced tourism. The county government in collaboration with Ol Pejeta conservancy should work hand in hand to improve road network within the county and especially road serving the conservancy which is in poor state. In terms of marketing the conservancy needs to improve and intensify its marketing strategy. The channel currently in use are not sufficient to reach majority of the target group, other channels of marketing that can be employed are participation in tourism forums at both county and country level.