Implementation Status and Challenges of Ecotourism Practices within Hospitality Industry in Kenya

Main Article Content

Julie Makomere https://orcid.org/0009-0009-8626-6240

Keywords

Ecotourism, Kenya, hospitality industry, sustainability practices, conservation initiatives

Abstract

As the impact of climate change escalates globally, the adoption of ecotourism practices in Kenya becomes not just a strategic choice, but urgency. The hospitality industry has been one of the top three revenue earners among Kenya's economic sectors as it provides a wide range of services, including accommodations, food and beverage and travel. In order to improve its market competitiveness to gain global recognition, and consequently contribute to tackling the climate change, the sector ought to implement responsible tourism through ecotourism strategies. Ecotourism is a sustainable form of travel that prioritizes ethical practices, with a focus on preserving natural environments, promoting conservation, and respecting local cultures. It seeks to minimize the ecological footprint of tourism activities while providing meaningful and educational experiences for the visitors. Ecotourism, when integrated into the hospitality industry, has the potential of significantly contributing to environmental conservation and sustainable development. This review therefore evaluated the implementation status and challenges of ecotourism practices within the Kenyan hospitality industry. Data for this review was obtained from Google Scholar, Web of Science, ScienceDirect, JSTOR, Semantic Scholar, ResearchGate, Academia, Scopus and Crossref references and citation-enhanced indexing databases. Content analysis of 16 publications related to ecotourism initiatives implemented in hospitability industry in Kenya, were published between 2004 and 2024, with the aim of identifying their adoption rate and challenges. The coding frequency of papers was computed and a qualitative analysis was undertaken on the identified themes. The findings revealed that the most adopted eco-tourism initiatives were energy conservation, water conservation and waste management. Key barriers to the implementation of ecotourism initiatives were found to be lack of government-led efforts and incentives, lack of awareness and understanding of ecotourism principles among stakeholders, financial constraints, poor infrastructure and weak enforcement of relevant laws and regulations by the Government. The study recommends that there is need to provide financial incentives, tax breaks, and subsidies for hospitality businesses adopting and promoting sustainable and eco-friendly practices. In addition, there is need to establish training programs for hospitality professionals and local communities, in order to enhance their understanding of ecotourism principles and practices.

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