Mombasa County to come up with bill to manage beaches
In a bid to improve Mombasa County beaches and make them a key tourism destination, the County administration of Governor Ali Hassan Joho is moving towards fast-tracking the enactment of a County Beach Management Bill.
The bill is expected to have policies and regulations that would help achieve this goal.
Speaking at the Jomo Kenyatta Public where he represented Mombasa County Executive for Tourism, Trade and Investment, Mr Fawz Rashid during a beach clean-up exercise, County Tourism Chief Officer, Mr Innocent Mugabe said that there will be massive stakeholder involvement to make the new bill a success.
County staff and volunteers including a group of visiting tourists from Switzerland took part in cleaning beachfront from Nyali, Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach all the way to the Mombasa Serena Beach in the North Coast.
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“We want to have an all-inclusive bill hence the need for all stakeholders’ participation. We are keen to have a clean, safe and healthy beach environment both for recreation uses for residents and visitors alike,” he said.
Mugabe stressed that above all, the new bill will serve to largely protect the marine eco-system.
He said that already an audit exercise to identify genuine beach traders shall be carried out to ensure the beaches are clear if fraudulent characters who have given Mombasa and the Kenyan beaches a bad name.
”We still get reports of harassment of tourists who flock the beaches. This is one thing we are keen to tackle and ensure that our beaches are free of any form of harassment for beach goers,” Mugabe said.
The initiative by the Mombasa County Government 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), 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.
Kenya Coast Tourist Association (KCTA) CEO, Mr Julius Owino commended efforts by the Mombasa County government on ensuring cleaner beaches.
He said that a socio- economic Baseline Survey conducted in 2006 put the number of beach operators then along the Kenyan coast then at approximately 4,509 and in 2011.
” These figures have now more than tripled,” he said.