Geography Kenya Coursework Essay

Kenya is an LEDC. It has relied on food exports to earn is money. Now it is developing its tourist industry to earn money. In this Part I will analyse whether tourism is a good or bad thing by thinking about the advantages and disadvantages on Kenya as a whole.

Kenya is trying to develop its tourism sector. As previously stated in Part 1 on the development ranking table, Kenya’s GNP is $340. Compared to the UK, which is $16,750 – Kenya looks extremely low. This shows how Kenya is an LEDC, because the UK is an MEDC. Kenya is one of the poorest ; least developed countries in the world. Tourism can bring in a lot of money to the country, hence why it is being developed.

There are many attractions which bring people to Kenya. Generally Kenya is associated with Safaris. In various National parks and game reserves across Kenya Safaris take place. Generally Tourists are guided around the park in a van and given the opportunity, they can see the animals of Kenya very close.

Kenya is also home to a marvellous array of various landscapes. Kenya offers endless opportunities for adventure and recreation. Mt Kenya, Mt Kilimanjaro and the Western Highlands in Kenya offer superb conditions for trekking and hiking. The breathtakingly beautiful lakes of Kenya are other must see tourist attraction in the country. Kenya is also the home to some of the most spectacular lakes in the world, including the Lake Victoria, Lake Baringo, Lake Turkana, Lake Rudolf and Lake Naivasha

One of the main advantages to tourism in Kenya is the amount of jobs it offers as a sector. 40,000 people are directly employed in the tourism industry, with thousands more jobs being connected to this industry. This means that a lot more people in Kenya get a better way of living because of the jobs they get from tourism. Jobs will also be offered to locals who will benefit from this. A lot of new jobs are created this way and opens jobs such as balloonist jobs, lodging jobs and mini bus jobs.

The money gained from tourism has previously helped to improve roads and build more houses in Kenya. It can also be used to build new schools and hospitals.

Another advantage is that a lot of jobs in the tourist sector are profitable, which can be seen from the fact that tourism is the largest foreign exchange earner at $467 million a year.

The Maasai people have also somewhat gained from tourism. It enables them to gain money from souvenirs and various things to do with their way of life. They have also gained a Maasai school, and water pipes in their local area.

Kenya also gains more tourists through the word of mouth. Previous tourists to Kenya usually tell others about their positive experience, making others want to go and increasing the tourism sector in Kenya more so.

An increased foreign market is also available to farmers because of tourism. The connection between Kenya and other countries opens up more options for the farmers to sell their goods to.

However, whenever there is an advantage to something there is always going to be a disadvantage.

Ballooning, which is a popular tourist attraction in Kenya causes many problems. The noise and shadow of the balloon scares and disrupts animals in the area it is flying. This disruption may make the animals irrational, possibly leading to decreased mating and feeding. Vehicles used to transport the balloons also tear the ground in the area.

Lodges are also a risk to animals health. Usually rubbish from the lodges are thrown out to the back, where animals in the area can feast on the delights that are in the rubbish. This can make animals obese and unhealthy. There is also a safety risk. An example of this is when a baboon found and ate a battery in a lodges rubbish. This baboon died from poisoning.

Mini buses are at large for harassing animals while on safaris. Eventhough anti harassment patrols were introduced and a limit for how close the mini buses can get to the animals, they still disobey this and get too close. The harassment of the animals makes them act irrational and causes declined mating and feeding. Many mini buses cause a large amount of soil erosion, causing the safari routes and areas to be a dust hole, and if in wet season a marshy land.

Tourism has also called a problem towards the Maasai people. Because a large amount of game reserves and national parks have been introduced as tourism grew larger, the Maasai people were forced from their homes on the reserves and pushed to the edge of the area. The Maasai threaten migrating wildebeests in the area because there natural migration paths go right through the settlements of the Maasai, causing a large problem since the new homes were introduced. Another disadvantage is that the Maasai’s way of life has changed drastically. They no longer dance for the fun of it, they see it as an opportunity to make money – by putting on a show and dressing up for the tourists their true way of life is lost. Maasai people have also been spotted not in traditional clothes, and this has only recently happened since they were moved out of their original settlements.

Whenever the Maasai spot a tourist in their settlements, they will bring out all the souvenirs they have made, and encourage the tourists to buy them.

Tourism has had a very negative effect on the coastline destination of Mombasa. Ever since a large amount of tourists started coming to Mombasa it has been ridden with alcohol, drugs, sex and prostitutes and violence. With the main religion in Mombasa being Islam, it is obvious that this didn’t appeal very much so towards the original people there.

Most of the proportion of money that is being gained from tourism goes towards the Kenyan government, this is a possible disadvantage to tourism because the money may not be actually going to working people in Kenya who deserve it.

In Kenya tourists need a place to stay. This results in Lodges and Hotels needing to be built. Building materials are needed for this process, and the result is acacia and baobab trees being cut down. This is done for space and obviously to build lodges. This process damages the environment. With less trees being available there is less food for the elephants, therefore effecting the whole food chain as previously stated in part 2. This damages the environment.

Different groups in Kenya all have different opinions on the matter of tourism.

A Maasai member would think that the community as a whole has suffered from a lack of basic human rights. The encouragement of tourism ; protection of wildlife national parks and game reserves, forced the Maasai people to move from their home land. The Maasai people are no longer allowed to graze cattle in the national parks or game reserves. People now see the Maasai as a tourist attraction, expecting them to be uneducated people with a quaint way of life and colourful traditional dress. The Maasai people want to be treated with respect, yet tourism has forced the basic human rights from them. The Maasai people are generally against tourism.

A environmentalist would think that the environment as a whole is being damaged, farmland, trees and plants are being cut down to make space for new roads and hotels, therefore, destroying natural habitats. An environmentalist would be against tourism.

The government would think that tourism encourages the building of new roads and better communications. Education and health care are improved with money used. It is good for the country and people. National Parks and game reserves protect the land ; environment. The environment needs to be protected from overgrazing by farmers, protect the wildlife from poachers killing animals. National parks and game reserves do this. Local people are now able to make more money from tourists than they previously did in farming. It would be in their own interest to help conserve national parks and game reserves. The government would be for tourism.

I think that a business man would think that people’s business skills will be developed because of the creation of new jobs. Jobs will be created in sectors such as services, hotels and restaurants. A local food demand is created by tourists, helping farmers sell more. A business man would be for tourism.

I think that a concerned tourist would think that they are concerned about Kenya’s developments in tourism. Safari minibuses disturb animals, and cause soil erosion. Hot air balloons also disturb the wildlife. In some areas, wild animals often move outside the reserves, destroying farmers crops. It is not easy to keep such animals completely under control. A concerned tourist would be against tourism.

Money earned from tourism has been used to help the local people. The Maasai has benefited from this by the building of water pumps and schools close to where the Maasai settlements are. New roads and houses have also been built for the local people using this money.

However, other groups benefit a lot more from tourism than the local people. Eventhough the Maasai have had water pumps and schools built for them, they were never sufficiently helped with the problems of resettlement when national parks and game reserves were introduced. Local people are also not benefiting as much; only a few new roads, hospitals, schools and housing have been provided for them. The ones which have been provided are usually close by to a popular tourist destination.

The people who are truly benefiting from tourism come in a very different form. A form of foreign ownership. Such companies as Travel agents, Airline operators and Hotel owners are earning a large amount of money in the tourist sector, which is then transferred out of Kenya to where the company is originally based. This means a lot of the money made by tourism is actually sucked straight out of Kenya by the large chains of foreign ownership countries which have opened hotels, airlines or travel agencies in the country.

In my opinion, the money earned from tourism should be spent in the development of Kenya. It should firstly help the people living there gain a better way of living. This would be by actually building roads, hospitals, schools and housing – which the Kenyan government is ‘supposedly’ doing at this moment. I would also introduce an improved way of Safaris and stop the cutting down of the trees. This would gradually improve the eco-system and the environment of Kenya.

The question of this coursework is ‘Do the economic benefits of tourism in Kenya outweigh the negative impact on the Savanna Grassland ecosystem?’

My opinion on this matter is that no, the economic benefits do not outweigh the economic benefits.

Based on the information included in my coursework, I think that tourism is having a positive influence on the economy of Kenya. I have came to this conclusion for quite a few reasons, in which have been spread throughout the information in my coursework. As previously stated in part 1, tourism contributes to 35% of Kenya’s income, being the highest earning sector there. It also employs 12% of the country in the tourism sector. It is obvious that tourism is having a positive influence on the economy side of Kenya because it has instantly shot upwards as the highest earner.

And the more money being brought into the country, the better the economic situation Kenya will be in. As previously stated in this part, tourism earns $467 million per year in Kenya, and this is constantly increasing every year. Tourist attractions such as Ballooning, safaris and hotels are all very profitable and increase the economic situation. Increase in the tourist sector also increases the market size for farmers, with a greater foreign market available. Locals in the area will benefit from many of the new jobs created by tourists, improving the way of life for local people.

If Kenya did not have tourism the jobs sector would be full of primary jobs. There would be little foreign money and primary exports. Many people’s way of life would not have been improved if it wasn’t for the jobs which tourism has brought to the country.

I think the benefits of tourism do not outweigh the negative impacts on the environment. I have came to this conclusions for many reasons, most which consist of the destroying of Kenya’s environment and its eco-system. As previously stated in part 2 and this part, Acacia trees are being cut down to make space and for construction materials. With more and more trees being cut down, it reduces the amount of food available to the animals in Kenya such as elephants. This can lead to animals dying of starvation.

This then can effect a whole food chain, therefore, gradually over time possibly killing off a whole species of animal if the chopping down of trees continues to happen. The environment is also harmed by vehicles used to carry ballooning equipment, and the vehicles used when on safaris. This is in the form of soil erosion to the grasslands, and is one of the most widespread of today’s environmental problems. It has impacts which are both on-site (at the place where the soil is detached) and off-site (wherever the eroded soil ends up).

Another problem ballooning and safaris cause is the decline in mating and feeding, since the attractions harass the animals constantly and do not take them into consideration.

With most jobs relating to tourism effecting the animals and environment some way, tourism is obviously having a very negative impact on Kenya’s ecosystem.

Without tourism, Kenya would not have an undamaged ecosystem, nor would it have poorly treated residents.

The thing is, the tourists are visiting Kenya to see the animals and the environment, yet by doing so they are actually damaging the environment as a whole. Eventually, if it carries on this way, there will be no glorious animals for the tourists to glare at, no scenic areas which the tourists will want to visit – Kenya would just be digging a grave for its own environment if it carries on the way it is currently going.

This is where I think that the tourist industry should be developed differently in the future.

A sustainable way of tourism in Kenya should be introduced, so it can benefit from tertiary jobs, foreign money for development, but at the same time not damaging the eco-system or exploiting civilians in the country. This means using resources wisely, so that the environment is not damaged. Sustainable tourism is using and enjoying the environment, whilst preserving it for future generations. This will help to reduce the negative impacts of tourism in Kenya.

Ecotourism can help Kenya in the following ways:

* Education – tourists and local people should be aware of ecotourism, telling them that visitors to an area is limited, so vegetation will be re-grown in trampled areas.

* Resources – Controlling resources carefully, using fewer, low-energy vehicles, recycling materials and growing organic foods. By encouraging tourists to eat local, not imported food – it will help the environment and help local people to get an income

* Traditions – Local people will be allowed to continue there ‘tried and tested’ methods of agriculture. Revitalize traditional crafts such as wood carving, therefore allowing local people to develop their skills and earn a living

* Money – This all does sound rather simple, but caring for the environment does cost money. Part of the income from tourism can be used for this. If many foreign ownership companies provide money to help support the environment, they are more likely to respect the local people, the environment and most of all make more money by promoting the environmentally friendly Kenya.