Planning for tourism development in the Homa bay - Kisumu region
This study was prompted by the low level of tourist resource utilization in the Homa Bay-Kisumu region. This is because of the lack of developed tourist resources and infrastructure which featured as the major obstacle to the industry's growth. This study thus examines at the first level, the role of tourism in national development by looking at the role of tourism in employment creation, income generation and stimulation of national and regional economic development. This review establishes the importance of tourism in national development. The development of tourism depends on the availability of resources and supporting infrastructure. The study therefore examines at the second level, the potential of the regional resources and infrastructure to support the growth of a viable tourist industry. At this level, the region is found to have a wide range of resources represented by Wildlife, the giant Lake Victoria, the varied cultural backgrounds and beautiful sceneries, ail of which arc backed up with a fairly good transport network found in its roads, railway and airstrips. The concern of this level of analysis is centred around the quality, quantity and potential of both regional facilities and infrastructure. From this level, the study moves to assess the level of utilization of the available facilities and infrastructure. Despite having a number of resources, the region has not been able to attract a good visitor traffic. This is mostly due to the fact that a great number of these resources have not been developed while some important facilities like hotels and lodges are still limited in number. Other factors include the poor state of some important access roads to the potential sites, little diversity in resource range at present, and lack of aggressive promoton. An important resource like Lake Victoria which promises to be a good and cheap form of transport as well as a sure way of turning the region into a sportswonderland has not been utilized for any tourist oriented activity. This leaves the major source of attraction to be centred around wildlife, thus attracting a small visitor traffic annually. Towards these problems, the study has considered * both short and long-term measures designed to improve the performance of the industry. The major resource which is wildlife should be developed as soon as possible in the short-term with major works directed at fencing, provision of viewing tracks, construction of staff houses, and access roads. Other short-term developments should include the construction of traditional villages, in order to develop the cultuv.J (vii) potential, recruitment of performers, perfection of information dissemination channels through the construction of information offices and inclusion of the region in the programmes of international tourist information offices. Among the major long-term developments should be the incorporation of Lake Victoria in the tourist programme of the region through the development of beaches, Lake Sports and transport system. The establishment of a local air transport firm, travel agencies, construction of new hotels, perfection of Telecommunication facilities as well as the bitumenization of important primary roads that traverse crucial resource areas, are also part of the long-term proposals. The study also considers the development of tourism in the region to be closely tied to the increased participation of the local people. They should be involved as much as possible in taxi operation, travel agency, tour operation, restaurant, hotel and curio shop ownership as well as in the production of crafts and supply of food requirements to the hotels and lodges. This should be done through the extension of credit facilities to them which will enhance the retension of profits within the region for the good of its economy. The study finally suggests follow up research in the best way of increasing the participation of the local people within the industry as a means of retaining most profits within the region and forestalling external control of the sector.
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