The Perceived Impacts of Sport Tourism: A Host Community’s Perspective around Iten town, Kenya

Beatrice H. Ohutso Imbaya, Margaret Wanjiku Irungu


Sport tourism is one of the fastest growing market segments in the global tourism industry. Kenya is no different, as it is reputed world over for its exemplary performances in diverse competitions including long distance athletics and rugby. More significantly, the North Rift region in Kenya is famous for producing world champions including long distance runners. Accordingly, the North Rift region has over the years experienced an increase in the number of athletes and development of athletics training camps not only to nurture young talent but also tap revenue from sport tourists who comprise of world-class athletes from all over the world residing in training camps in the region for weeks or months ahead of major events. However, economic, social and environmental impacts of sport tourism upon destinations in Kenya have received little attention, with prior research on tourism impacts in Kenya focusing almost exclusively on wildlife, cultural and beach tourism. The purpose of this study was to examine residents’ perceived impacts of sport tourism around Iten town. In particular, the study looked at how the development of sport tourism has affected the local environment and the livelihood of local people. The study population consisted of local people living in Iten town and the surrounding area. Cluster sampling was applied to select the sampling units where most local people reside. Simple random sampling technique was then used to recruit respondents from each sampling unit. Data collection involved a combination of questionnaires, interviews and observations. Questionnaires and interviews were administered in training camps and residential areas. In addition, interviews were conducted with local community leaders. In total 150 respondents participated in the study. The findings supported the social exchange theory and showed that the economic benefits appear to have the greatest influence on whether local residents support further sport tourism developments.

Keywords: Tourism; Sport; Impacts; Social exchange theory; Community; Sustainable Development.


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ISSN (Paper) 2312-5187   ISSN (Online) 2312-5179

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