Balala calls for laws to minimize tourist harassment

Thursday January 14 2016

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala (left) registers for domestic tourism campaign, at English Point Marina on January 13, 2016. He has said the Ministry would enhance relations with regional blocs like North Rift Economic Bloc to see how problems in the industry can be addressed. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala (left) registers for domestic tourism campaign, at English Point Marina on January 13, 2016. He has said the Ministry would enhance relations with regional blocs like North Rift Economic Bloc to see how problems in the industry can be addressed. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MATHIAS RINGA
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Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has asked Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Lamu County authorities to formulate laws that would regulate activities at beaches to curb the harassment of tourists.

Mr Balala on Thursday said he would link with governors to find solutions to thorny issues affecting the sector.

He added that the Ministry would enhance relations with regional blocs like Jumuiya Ya Kaunti Za Pwani and the North Rift Economic Bloc to see how problems in the industry can be addressed.

“Governor Hassan Joho has agreed to work with us to address challenges affecting tourism in Mombasa,” he said.

“We want the beaches to be special places for relaxation. That will attract more local and international holidaymakers.”

The Coast has about 10,000 beach operators.

They include curio dealers, boat owners, fruit vendors, camel riders, photographers, providers of massage services and cloth-sellers.

In recent years, the Kenya Coast Tourism Association (KCTA) has been working with Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Lamu authorities in training beach traders.

The training started two years ago as part of efforts by tourism players and the counties to address the menace.

In Mombasa, about 590 beach operators out of the registered 3,000 have been trained.

CAPACITY BUILDING
KCTA trains beach operators on customer care, finance management, entrepreneurship, marketing, code of conduct and ethics, team-building, product development and management.

Other topics include taking care of beaches, sustainable tourism, sources of alternative livelihoods and investment.

Speaking to journalists at English Point Marina in Mombasa on Wednesday, Mr Balala called on the county governments to address the challenges of garbage collection.

Almost all coastal towns have been facing problems of piling garbage and disposal of sewage.

He said his ministry would assist counties identify new tourism products to enable every part of Kenya attract visitors.

“The ministry will also combine efforts with the 47 counties in marketing the available sites to attract local and international visitors,” he added.

He said every county has unique tourism products, adding that when marketed, they would enable Kenya attract more holidaymakers and revamp the sector.

For the last three years, some counties have been participating in international travel shows like the World Travel Market and London and Berlin ITB.

Others have launched cultural events to attract tourists.