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Unpublished Paper
Global distribution systems in Kenya – Fad or major shift to eTourism?
  • Shem W Maingi, Kenyatta University

GDSs’ in the recent past have grown to be the backbone of the global travel and tourism

industry as they have generated most of the reservations from airlines, hotels. However, the

future of such electronic global distribution services in Kenya seems bleak.

With the advent of the Internet in 1994, most Airlines, realized that they could re-engineer

their travel systems to bypass both the GDS and the travel agency functions (thus saving on

travel distribution & collaboration costs) by developing Web-based Online reservation

systems, which directly links to the consumer.

This paper seeks to investigate the impact and usage of global distribution technology in

Kenya’s tourism sector. Further, it seeks to infer on the opportunities and future challenges

facing GDS technology in the Information age. An exploratory research carried out in

Nairobi, assesses opinions of travel agents, tour operators, KATA and KATO, who represent

the major ingredient of Kenya’s travel supply side. Further, a web survey on major Kenyan

Airlines and GDSs’ websites provide crucial inference on emerging technologies in

eTourism in Kenya.

Results indicated that 54% of the organizations in the study used GDS technology. Four

major systems emerged as the most dominant travel distribution systems in use by the

organizations. These were, Galileo (53%), Amadeus (19%), World span (16%) and SITA

airline system (12%). Other results indicated that the GDS providers targeted Subscribers

(Travel agents), Vendors (Airlines) and individual travellers (Tourists). Further, 37% of the

subscribers who admitted to using GDS technology stated that they have been using such

technology for the last 6 –10 years, 28% used GDS technology for 11-15 years, 19% used GDS

for the last 5 years, 10% used GDS for 16-20 years and only 6% used GDS technology for the

last 20 years. This trend shows that there has been a rapid diffusion of GDS technology in


Consequently, the research provides key recommendations on the way forward regarding

the Global distribution systems in Kenya. The study acknowledges the fact that today's

travel management industry is constantly changing, requiring not only new solutions but

new ways of thinking as well.

  • Global distribution systems; eTourism; Travel distribution; Online travel; Tourism; eCommerce
Publication Date
September 15, 2006
Citation Information
Shem W Maingi. "Global distribution systems in Kenya – Fad or major shift to eTourism?" (2006)
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