KWS calls for one agency to license beach operators
Posted Thursday, August 2 2012 at 21:13
Lack of clear licensing procedures for businesses operating on the beaches at the Coast is hindering implementation of key projects aimed at bringing the recreation areas to international standards.
Despite the success of the Sh150 million phase one of the Beach Management Programme in the North Coast’s 12-kilometre stretch that is being implemented by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the agency is concerned about potential conflict among regulators.
“Beach operators seek licences from different authorities. Sometimes one agency might issue a license in conflict with another one,” said Arthur Tuda, a senior warden with KWS.
Tour operators, curio dealers, tube lenders and food kiosks are licensed by the municipal council, KWS and the Tourism ministry, while the Police issue certificates of good conduct.
According to Mr Tuda, placing the responsibility on one agency would ensure thorough vetting of those seeking to do business at the beaches.
Besides beach management, the programme involves re-branding marine parks in Watamu, Malindi and South Coast and was launched with a view of ensuring that the Mombasa Marine Park is clean.
It is also hoped to address some of the emerging threats to beach tourism, like tourist harassment, beach insecurity, beach degradation and youth unemployment.
The programme includes beach patrols, daily beach clean-up, life guard duties and restoration degraded beach areas.
KWS hopes the project will make beach and marine park activities more sustainable, attracting more of the visitors who avoid the outdoors for fear of harassment.
“Zoning will reduce management conflicts among beach users and partnership between hotels and communities will be enhanced,” said Mr Tuda.
Voyager, Whitesands, Travellers and Neptune are among hotels willing to lay sunbathing beds at the beach under the programme.
Under the integrated approach, 2000 operators are placed at designated areas along the beach.
“We support the programme so long as we are involved in implementing it because we have already seen its benefits,” said Mr Emmanuel Yaa, the chairman of the beach operators.
The new arrangement has also been hailed as having helped in the management of solid waste in the recreational centres, since the operators supervise collection of plastics bottles and other waste.