A business network analysis of the Botswana tourism industry : – Putting local ground operators relationships with foreign tour operators in the centre
Abstract: Purpose: This study aims to (1) describe and analyse the local ground operator’s role in the network of the Botswana tourism industry, (2) to investigate what factors characterize and influence their relationships with foreign tour operators, as well as (3) to provide implications for improving these relations. Methodology: This study has been conducted as a case study, where the empirical data was collected during a two months field trip to Botswana. A qualitative research method, and a deductive approach has been used. Five semi-structured interviews were conducted with ground operators to get their perspective of their own situation, and one with a person representing a governmental organisation. Most data was collected through the interviews, but participating observation also served as a source of information. The validity and reliability of the study has been enhanced by defining core concepts, interviewing several respondents, using an interview guide and recording most of the interviews. Results: Local ground operators play are crucial role in the network of Botswana’s tourism industry, as they are engaged in a high number of business relationships, are bringing the services at the destination together, and are connecting them to the tourists. They play a role as both customers and suppliers. Their relationship to tour operators abroad consists of a lot of resource ties, activity links as well as some actor bonds. Trust is found to be a very essential part of the relationship, and they perceive themselves as being dependent on the tour operators. Culture is not identified as a major influencing factor. As for managerial recommendations, a better communication in expectations and an increased adaptation of products and processes, to create customer dependence, are among the results advised.
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