Date of Award

May 2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

Committee Member

Sheila J Backman

Committee Member

Brett A Wright

Committee Member

Kenneth F Backman

Committee Member

Bruce Ransom

Committee Member

Harold Cheatham

Abstract

Marketing and developing tourism within regional economic blocs is a growing phenomenon at a time when globalization is at the center stage of geopolitics, trade wars, and scientific revolutions. However, this development is occurring haphazardly, with little attention to managing existing socioeconomic inequalities and differing political interests among member states. This absence heightens the need for a shared tourism agenda among member states. Using the case of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania, this study investigates whether tourism development within the East Africa Community (EAC) region – with the exception of South Sudan, another member of the same community – is a shared agenda. Specifically, the study investigates conditions under which tourism policy makers within the EAC cooperate; the role that East Africa Tourism Platform (EATP) plays in creating a shared tourism agenda within the EAC; political, social, and economic realities that should be addressed in order to develop a shared tourism agenda within the EAC; and the opportunities that can be harnessed within the EAC to promote creating a shared tourism agenda.

The results reveal that protectionism is a major cause for differences exhibited by some partner states in the development of a shared tourism agenda. A summary statement among participants suggests that: “Everyone is pushing for their interests at the expense of regional projects and programs.” Findings, however, provide the conclusion that policymakers are willing to cooperate if the following four conditions are met: (1) regularizing policymaker meetings; (2) developing regional destination development and a marketing action plan; (3) synchronizing calendars of marketing activities; and (4) developing an EAC marketing strategy while advancing the ideals of reciprocity, fairness, mutual trust, and openness. The study recommends that partner states should harmonize their tourism laws and align them with an EAC treaty. An East Africa Tourism Platform, on the other hand, should maintain neutrality and abstain from brokering for any country-specific agenda while pursing the objectives of building synergies amongst partner states.

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