Communication approaches for promotion of tourism in Homabay county, Kenya
Bwanah, Jacinta Nonkwe
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This study was conducted with the aim of finding out the communication approaches used for promotion of tourism in Homabay county. This is based on the fact that Homabay county is rich in tourists‟ attractions but continue to receive very few tourists; Kenya also aims to meet the requirements of its vision 2030 as far as the tourism sector is concerned. Promotion of tourism is necessary to enable the sector generate revenue to the county and improve the livelihood of the people around the area. The study aimed to investigate the communication approaches used in the promotion of tourism in Homabay county. The specific objectives of the study were to examine communication channels used in the promotion of tourism in Homabay county, to assess communication messages for promotion of tourism in Homabay county and to determine the communication frequency for promotion of tourists‟ sites in Homabay county. The study was guided by Media Framing theory and adopted mixed research approach. Data was collected from stakeholders of tourism in Homabay County by use of questionnaires, interviews and document analysis. The target population was 1,433 with a sample size of 100. Purposive and convenient sampling was employed. Qualitative data was analysed thematically using manual open coding and NVivo 11 software while quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics. Four themes emerged: channels of tourism promotion, attraction points for tourists in Homabay county, promotion of tourism and the level of frequency of tourism promotion. 35 of the 80 tourists were referred by a previous tourist to visit Ruma national park, while 10 of them got the message from the internet; 39 of them stated that the tourism promotional information is convincing while 41 of them said it is not. 50 tourists stated that there is need to increase the frequency of promotion of tourism, 12 said no, while 18 did not know. The study found that the channels through which tourism promotion is done include electronic and print media as well as events such as Miss tourism Homabay. It was also established that the promotional messages contained cultural and historical information while highlighting the uniqueness of the sites. The promotion of these sites is however not done frequently and the channels used mainly reach the local tourists leaving out the potential tourists in the international arena. The ministry of tourism Homabay county attributes inadequate promotion of the sites to lack of adequate funds from the county government. The study recommends that the Homabay county government, KWS intensify promotion of the sector by using channels that target both local and international tourists. The promotional messages should be easily accessible, adequate, persuasive and convincing. The frequency of the promotional activities should also be increased and done periodically.