To: The Clerk of the National Assembly of Kenya.
CC: The Parliamentary Committee on Sports, Culture and Tourism.
From: The Community Based Tourism Consortium of Kenya.
Date: May 14, 2018
Subject: The Miscellaneous Amendment Bill No. 12 of 2018.
The Community Based Tourism Consortium of Kenya comprises of several legally registered organizations working together to enhance livelihoods of local communities through Community Based Tourism. These institutions include: The Kenya Community Based Tourism Network (KECOBAT), The Ecotourism Kenya (EK), and Rural Tourism Network of Kenya (RTN).
We write to provide our analysis of “The Miscellaneous Amendment Bill No. 12 of 2018 which is currently before various relevant departmental committees of the National Assembly
Our input seeks to provide a critical analysis of the notice to amend The Tourism Act No.28 2011 taking into account international principles and best practices in tourism governance.
The Proposed amendments to the Act and our position.
The bill sees to make the following amendments to the Tourism Act No. 28 of 2011:
- Section 7 (1) (a). Formulate guidelines and prescribe measures for sustainable tourism throughout the country.
Proposed amendment: Deletion of the word ‘sustainable’ from section 7 (1) (a) and inserting the words “establishments and operations” immediately after word ‘tourism’.
After the amendment, the section will then read: formulate guidelines and prescribe measures for tourism establishments and operations throughout the country.
The concept of sustainable tourism is gaining traction as an approach that seeks to reconcile economic, environmental and social impacts of tourism development. The popularity and the need to promote sustainable tourism development was underscored in 2017 when the United Nations declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development in order to promote a change in policies and business practices within the sector and also in the habits of consumers and travelers.
As Community Based Tourism stakeholders, we hold the view that sustainable tourism has never been more relevant than in today’s world where environmental and cultural degradation are the commonplace of tourism development in various destinations of the world.
Consequently, it is incumbent upon various stakeholders- such as policy makers- to formulate policies and regulations that promote sustainable tourism development in the country. As such, we are not in agreement with the intention to expunge sustainability from the current section of the Act.
Our proposal: we propose insertion of the sentence “to realize sustainable tourism development” after the word ‘operations’ as the ultimate goal or aspirations of the role of formulation of guidelines and measures for tourism establishments and operations. Hence, the new section will read: Formulate guidelines and prescribe measures for tourism establishments and operations to realize sustainable tourism development throughout the country.
- The Bill intends to delete section 7 (b) of the Act which reads: regulate tourism activities and services countrywide, in accordance with the national tourism strategy.
The role of regulation of tourism activities in the country was donated to the TRA which is a body corporate established by the Tourism Act No. 28 of 2011 under section 4. The regulatory roles of TRA were operationalized though the gazettement of legal notice No. 128 (Tourism Regulatory Authority Regulations 2014) vide the Kenya Gazette Supplement No. 142. The TRA regulates the Tourism sector through standardization and licensing as provided for in the TRA regulations 2014.
The amendment seeks to take away this legally mandated regulatory role of TRA without necessarily donating the same role to any other body corporate. It is our considered view that this shall create a regulatory lacuna that may pose a challenge to effecting and maintaining quality and standards of tourism establishments and activities in the country. We recommend that the regulatory roles remain in the interim with the TRA until such a time when such roles shall be partially or fully donated to another body or institution.
This is memorandum is prepared and signed by all the organizations constituting the Community Based Tourism Consortium of Kenya including:
Kenya Community based Tourism (KECOBAT)
Represented by: Mr. Taiko Lemayian (Executive Director)
The Ecotourism Kenya (EK)
Represented by: Ms. Grace Nderitu (Chief Executive Officer)
The Rural Tourism Network (RTN)
Represented by: Mr. Bicholas Ayimba (Chief Executive Officer)