The government in partnership with the industry players will soon launch beach product improvement initiatives in light of charter incentives that are expected to increase visitation to the Kenyan coast.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala says his Ministry will closely work with that of Environment, county governments and the private sector in giving a face-lift to the beach product.
The government has rolled out a Kshs 1.2 Billion Charter Incentive Program that will see all tourist charters with passengers terminating at Moi International Airport 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 the same period.
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.
About four years ago, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) initiated a beach rehabilitation program within Mombasa County putting in place frequent patrols, daily beach clean-up exercise and reorganization of beach vendors making the beach friendly to tourists.
“This programme 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.
Early the Minister took a sky dive in Watamu beach and said he was leading by example by endorsing beach sports activities.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.
He said he will embark on an engagement mission with the county governments of Lamu, Kilifi, Kwale and Mombasa in identifying 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 organization 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.