East African Tourism Destination Competitiveness: A Comparison of Uganda and Tanzania

Dev Jani, Maria Minde


Tourism is a growing sector in East African countries, being among major sources of export earnings. The sector is the major export earner in Tanzania (more than 20% of total exports) and it was the leading export earner in Uganda for the first time in the year 2014. Growth and expansion of tourism sector in East Africa necessitate the importance of having a competitive destination. Many studies on tourism destination competitiveness have been done in the world but studies on East African destination competitiveness are lacking. This study aimed at assessing destination competitiveness of East African countries specifically Tanzania and Uganda. Using self-administered questionnaires, a total of 383 and 188 questionnaires from Tanzania and Uganda, respectively, were collected through convenient sampling of tourists at major airports, hotels and tourist attractions in the two countries. The tested variables were accommodation, attractions, visitor services, transport system and food service reflecting destination competitiveness. Travel motivation was also captured to explore if tourists to the two countries differed with respect to their travel motives. A series of independent sample t-tests was used as inferential tests. Results revealed that accommodation and visitor services tend to be highly competitive in Uganda while transport system and travel motivation competitiveness are high in Tanzania. Attractions and food service competitiveness did not differ from one country to another. The study provides practical implications to tourism ministries and institutions on exploring
destinations’ competitive advantages in order to compete in the international market as well as within Africa. Moreover, findings shed light on aspects the different countries need to improve in order to be similar with other East African countries as means towards having East Africa as a single tourist destination. Theoretically, the study affirms applicability of comparative, resource based, and competitive advantage theories in appraising destination competitiveness.

Keywords: Tourism destination, destination competitiveness,
competitiveness indicators, East Africa.

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[ISSN 1821-7567 (Print)  & eISSN 2591-6947 (Online)]