The Impacts of Broadband Internet and Related Technologies on the Value Chain of the Tourism Sector in Kenya
Information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure development has been associated with impacts on gross domestic product of nation states. The arrival of the undersea fibre bandwidth in East Africa was expected to have huge effects in the national economies in the sub-region. This paper analyses the impact of fiber optic broadband connectivity and related technologies on the tourism value chain in Kenya. Data was collected through an exploratory survey of 40 organizations in the tourism sector. Interviews were held with sales managers, directors, general managers or deputy general managers from tourism authorities, tour operators, travel agencies, hotels, tour guides, taxi operators, beach operators, and ancillary service providers. Data was collected over twelve months, between April 2012 and March 2013. Data analysis was carried out through coding of all interview logs and transcriptions in order to identify and determine the most dominant concepts found in the dataset using NVIVO, an automated qualitative data analysis tool. The emerging findings were then divided into thematic categories and summarized. This paper provides initial findings from a preliminary analysis of the evidence using Michael Porter’s Five Forces Model as an analytical lens. The paper establishes that broadband internet and related ICTs have brought about varying changes in the bargaining powers of both suppliers and customers, changed the basis of rivalry among existing competitors and reduced barriers to entry for new players. It also provides conflicting findings on the intermediation effects of these technologies. In addition to these impacts, the paper highlights the challenges with adoption of broadband internet and related ICTs in the sector and ends with some conclusions.