ST-EP Project promotes collaboration between beach operators and hotels along the Kenyan coast

24 Apr 14

UNWTO and the UNWTO ST-EP Foundation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Travel Foundation (UK) to establish a ST-EP Destination Management Fund to support sustainable tourism projects addressing poverty reduction in mainstream destinations. Within the framework of the MoU, a project is being implemented in Kenya to help improve the livelihoods of beach operators and their interactions with hoteliers, tour operators and tourists alike.

Training session for beach operators Training and capacity-building programmes were implemented to help improve the service delivery of beach traders. The project delivered a 3-month training programme covering a range of different topics including service standards, personal grooming, customer care, health and safety.  The training was conducted in two ways: by hotel zone (delivering general training to beach operators working outside of specific hotels) and by trade-grouping (delivering trade specific training and capacity building to beach operators according to the products and services offered).

The training formed part of the first phase of the project and has benefited 580 beach operators, who all received an official beach operator license.  According to the Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association, unlicensed trading at beaches has reduced drastically, especially along the Mombasa north coast, and interaction between tourists and beach operators has significantly improved.

In its second phase, the project is supporting arrangements that allow
for beach operators to display their wares inside the hotels’ premises. The first of such successful arrangements was officially formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Travellers Beach Hotel and Club, one of the leading beach hotels in Mombasa, the Coast Beaches Curio Operators Association and the Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association. The MoU allows for 20 beach operators to display their wares inside the Travellers Beach Hotel and Club twice a week during given hours and on a rotational basis.

Other tourist facilities in the area have allowed traders into their premises, and the project is making further efforts to formalize this with a view to establishing a positive interaction between tourists and beach traders that is beneficial to the local economy and the tourist satisfaction. An online tool kit was recently launched by the Travel Foundation to help improve interaction between beach traders and tourists. The tool can be found here: http://www.thetravelfoundation.org.uk/green_business_tools/reducing_tourist_hassle/