The e-commerce revolution in business can help African countries expand their
tourism industry. Africa, with its great wealth in wildlife and unique resorts, can
benefit from the ever increasing user population of the Internet, particularly in the
USA and Western Europe where most of the tourists to Africa come from (Internet
World Stats, 2004). E-commerce which runs on the backbone of the Internet can help
the African tourism industry break into international tourism, thus increasing the
flows of the much needed foreign currency.
As there was little empirical data on the e-commerce activities in the African tourism
industry the researcher first and foremost examined a large number of websites in
order to paint a picture of the nature and extent of the e-commerce activities in four
countries. For comparison, websites of tourism organisations from USA and
Western Europe were also examined. The surveys revealed that few of the African
organisations are embracing e-commerce and that although some websites were
comparable to those of their western counterparts the majority had room for
After examining the websites another survey was carried out to find the current
progress of e-commerce adoption and usage from the perspective of the African
tourism organisations. Analysis of the data collected showed that e-commerce
adoption among the tourism organisations was slow.
This led to more surveys being carried out to find the barriers to e-commerce among
tourism organisations with information-only websites and those whose websites had
limited interactive facilities. These surveys revealed that tourism organisations with
information-only websites faced more barriers than those with websites which had
limited interactive features. They also revealed that the most common barriers were
technological and security and legal barriers.
The ultimate survey involved finding out from tourism organisations with
fully-fledged e-commerce websites how they overcame the e-commerce barriers. The methods used by these organisations to overcome e-commerce barriers together
with recommendations made in the surveys carried out earlier were used to formulate
recommendations and guidelines for those organisations intending to adopt and
e-commerce. The recommendations and guidelines were tested and results showed
that they are helpful and easy to follow.
Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.