Mombasa Local Tourism Act – Regulating the Beach - Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers & Caterers (KAHC)

The Constitution of Kenya, 2010 provides for various functions of county governments to include trade development and regulation, including local tourism. The Mombasa County Government, in exercise of its functions developed and enacted a Mombasa County Local Tourism Act, 2018.

The Act regulates various aspects of local tourism including: the establishment of a council of tourism and service delivery; a local tourism reserve, and sources of revenue for the reserve; management of public beaches; and taxes, fees and charges.

The Mombasa Local Tourism Act, 2018 touches on well-regulated beaches, it doesn’t comprehensively address all aspects of beach management that include:

  • fees and charges levied to beach traders and beach users and their reservation for beach management activities;
  • a mechanism to address conflicts among beach traders; and,
  • seamless management of the beaches in collaboration with other coastal counties. 

In 2014, KAHC developed a Policy Position Paper (PPP) and draft a Model Beach Management Law to provide a legal basis for the control of beaches for the following counties: Mombasa, Kwale, Tana River, Lamu and Kilifi. In 2017, KAHC lobbied for the enactment of the draft Beach Management Bill in both Kwale and Mombasa Counties.

The engagements of KAHC with both Kwale and Mombasa led to various discussions with the County Assembly members, and key leaders in the region. However, the draft Bills were never tabled and discussed as presented. In Kwale, though there were several discussions the issue did not progress.

In Mombasa, there was some success with the enactment of the Mombasa Local Tourism Act, 2017 which had some input from KAHC. However, key issues raised by KAHC were not taken into consideration and therefore not addressed in the Act.

KAHC now seek BAF support to lobby for the separation of beach management from the Mombasa County Local Tourism Act. This will enable the development of a comprehensive Beach Management Law which encompasses all aspects of an appropriately and effectively managed beach which provides for an enabling environment for business in Mombasa resulting in a clean, safe and profitable beach product which will enhance the growth of the tourism sector.