MOMBASA, Kenya, Oct 2 – In a bid to improve coastal beaches and make them a key tourism destination, the Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) and coast tourism stakeholders have come together to push for policies and regulations that would help achieve this goal.
KTF’s acting CEO Susan Ongalo has called out to industry stakeholders to develop a working document that will guide the streamlining efforts during a stakeholder forum in Diani.
“We want to have a working document towards the improvement of beach operations. The meeting we are having today is for a long term strategy to be able to make the beach a tourism destination” she said.
This comes at the back of challenges facing beach management efforts. According to a report compiled from a Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers (KAHC) Symposium, the challenges include unregulated operators, harassment of visitors, conflict among beach users, water pollution, dredging and destruction of natural habitat though sand mining among others.
Much is however being done. For instance, KAHC Executive Officer for Coast Sam Ikwaye said that a dialogue with coastal counties to work together to identify cross cutting issues has started.
“Plans are underway to select working teams from beach operating agencies to help implement the policies being formulated,” Ikwaye stated.
Additionally, the report stated that in the last decade, beach operators and the management of beaches had been receiving a lot of attention. A socio- economic Baseline Survey conducted in 2006 put the number of beach operators along the Kenyan coast then at approximately 4,509 and in 2011; this number was estimated to have tripled.
And that is no all. Adam Sheikh, County Executive Member, Tourism Promotion, Information, Communication and Technology- Kwale County Government stated that the county has been holding beach operator training and capacity building workshops to provide high quality service to visitors in Mombasa.
Chairman of KATO, Harald Camper, added that the beaches are not managed well due to lack of implementation.
“We aim to have a regulatory framework to this as well as borrow case studies from Caribbean region, Seychelles and Mauritius,” said Camper.
The report also recommended the importance of involving all the relevant stakeholders to ensure all issues and concerns are covered as well as the established tourism licensing and processing committees be enhanced and supported to become law.