Information Technology and Tourism in Kampala

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Kampala International University, College of Education
This study investigated if and the development of tourism in Kampala. This was after the realization that if plays a major role in the tourism, travel and hospitality industry, ifs facilitate an individual to access the tourism information from anywhere any time (e.g., by single click on the keypad after the emergence of the mobile computers, mobile phones and web technologies). The study specifically sought to achieve the following objectives: to establish the types of IT used to promote tourism in Kampala City; to examine the role of if in the development of tourism in Kampala City; and to find out the challenges faced in the development of tourism in Kampala City using if. The study design took the form of a case study design and purposive sampling in which the data sought were qualitative. A sample of30 respondents was selected for the study. The data were collected using interviews and observations [for primary data] and documents analysis [for secondary data]. Data were qualitatively analyzed by the literal description, narration and quoting in verbatim. This was followed by content analysis in order to make conclusions with great authenticity. The study established that the types of if used to promote tourism in Kampala City included: Internet, telephone and mass media [TV, radio and newspapers]. Further, the study found out that the role of IT in the development of tourism in Kampala City included: provision of information, medium for advertising and marketing, customer- management relations and growth of e-tourism. The study also established that the challenges faced in the development of tourism in Kampala City using if included: the infrastructural bottlenecks in if and the lack of know-how and capacity in if training. The study concludes by noting that traditional [radio, TV and newspapers] and modern forms of if [Internet and cell phone] are both widely used in the development of the tourism, travel and hospitality industry in Kampala CBD. The traditional IT [though outdated] will for some years continue to be important in Kampala not until their limitations such as illiteracy, poverty, lack of facilities and limited knowhow and capacity in it are overcome. The study also notes that ITs [Internet and mobile phone] have enhanced a level of collaboration between the tourism operators (e.g., travel agencies) and service providers whereby pre-arrangements with respective suppliers is no longer necessary. The web service discovery has enabled the identification of alternatives and the value for money and time. This has enabled holiday packages to be constructed, greater negotiation of services to be purchased and customization of services. The study also concludes by noting that the gaps that exist between the tourism industry and ifs must be bridged. The integration of IT in tourism is significant even with the limitations of infrastructure and personnel. The new ITs have a complementary function. Their benefits enable the development of travel agencies and make communication with customers and other entities easier. This is a foundation for building competitiveness. The study recommends that stakeholders [government, civil society, tour operators, etc.] must put in place conditions that make ITs readily accessed (e.g., through community radios, TVs, Internet and libraries) so as to demystify ITs. The study also calls for the regular update of ITs with new information and fresh deals for the sites to get noticed by the wider client base. Thus, hotels and travel agencies must continue to attract tourists by using it through online text, sophisticated images, videos, virtual tours of the hotel experience and it should be easily accessible in mobile devices and in newer applications. Lastly, the study recommends the need for a strategic approach to integrate ITs with tourism by making it more accessible, affordable and efficient as well as training manpower and building capacity in c-tourism as there is little evidence to suggest that this is being converted into action in Kampala.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the award of the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Education of Kampala International University
Information technology, Tourism, Kampala