Effect of tourism stop-overs on customers satisfaction: Case study of Igongo Cultural Center and AGIP Motel
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This study examined effect of tourism stop-overs on customer’s satisfaction at Igongo Cultural Centre and Agip Motel. Fifty (50) respondents were selected for the study including tourists, tour operators/guides and tourism experts. The objectives were to (i) identify tourist attractions and facilities available at Igongo Cultural Centre and Agip Motel as tourist stopovers that aid in satisfaction, (ii) assess the positive contributions of stop-overs to tourist satisfaction at Igongo Cultural Centre and Agip Motel and (iii) identify challenges that hinder stop-overs (Igongo Cultural Centre and Agip Motel) to satisfy tourists and make recommendations. Interview schedules and documentary review were used to collect data. Interview schedule questionnaires were administered to the key informants including tourists, tour operators/guides and tourism experts. Research revealed that the most popular attractions at Igongo Cultural Centre are the Museum, the 1500AD Solar Eclipse Monument, the Mayenje cow monument, the cultural village and dance, cultural foods and drinks and craft and book shop. Similarly, the research reveals that accommodation, restaurant and bar, transport facilities, recreational facilities, conference and swimming pool facilities as the major facilities contributing to customer’s smile at Igongo Cultural Centre and Agip Motel. The research also revealed that Igongo Cultural Centre and Agip Motel contributes to rest and relaxation of tourists after long distances of travel, it also shows that these stop-overs gives full museum experience which cannot be found elsewhere. The research also showed that Igongo Cultural Centre and Agip Motel gives total satisfaction a client expects, meets expectation and completes the trip of a tourist, adds experience after gorilla trekking experience, gives tourists knowledge about western Uganda cultures and helps tourists to experience hospitable people of Uganda freely and also to interact freely with other tourists which is difficult in the national parks. The research also revealed that Igongo Cultural Centre faces challenges which are majorly, language barriers as most staff members use local language and most know only English among international languages, there is also delay of service delivery, flooding in the compound and noise that comes from the Mbarara town especially for the case of Agip Motel. The stop-overs have been seen to have challenges of limited parking space, underdeveloped attractions, facilities and services, inaccessibility by the disabled clients, unskilled staff, congestion especially during peak season and limited time for stop-overs among the tour guides and tourists. The researcher recommends that Igongo Cultural Centre and Agip Motel to employ multilingual employees, professional and skilled, train their staff to ensure freshness of their skills, develop their attractions, facilities and services to meet the customer expectation, brand themselves and market rapidly if they are to take another step in developing as a major stopover in Uganda, dig trenches to divert floods, install sound proof to control noise pollution problem and that they should as well install ramps to help disabled clients especially those ones with mobility challenges to access the facilities and set moderate prices to encourage tourists and tour guides to visit this area.