Nairobi — The government in partnership with the industry players will launch initiatives to improve the beach product to complement the recent charter incentives, which are expected to increase visitation to the Kenyan coast.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala says his Ministry will work closely with the Environment Ministry, county governments and the private sector to give the beach products a face-lift.
The Government recently rolled out a Kshs 1.2 billion Charter Incentive Program that will see all tourist charters with passengers terminating at Moi International Airport (MIA), Mombasa and Malindi Airport enjoy landing fee waiver.
The charters will also benefit from a $30 USD passenger subsidy per seat filled by international passengers who terminate or disembark in Kenya over 30 months, from January 1.
Balala said beach was the leading tourism attraction in the Kenyan coast noting that enhancement of water sport activities to provide beach lovers with option of activities was part of the initiatives to improving the beach product.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) initiated a beach rehabilitation program, about four years ago, within Mombasa County putting in place frequent patrols, daily beach clean-up exercise and reorganisation of beach vendors making the beach friendly to tourists.
“This programme is aimed at restoring the competitive edge of Kenya’s coastal area as a tourism destination while ensuring that the marine and beach tourism products are sustained. We shall therefore be teaming up with the private sector in ensuring this is goal is met,” said Balala.
The CS was speaking in Watamu beach in Kilifi County after releasing a rehabilitated turtle to Watamu Marine National Park, a conservation initiative that will have positive impact on the beach product improvement. Earlier in the day the CS took a sky dive in Watamu beach and said he was leading by example by endorsing beach sports activities.
He said he will embark on an engagement mission with the county governments of Lamu, Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa to identify viable and sustainable ways on beach management initiatives. Balala lauded the efforts undertaken by the non- governmental organizations on conserving the beach product through conservation initiatives in Watamu.
Local Ocean Conservation is one such organisation that has together with the community and KWS rescued over 13,000 sea turtles and returned them to the ocean. According to the project manager Casper Van De Geer, the project is one of its kind in the world and one of the major break-through in beach product conservation efforts.