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
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/shem_maingi/5/