(eTN) – Last weekend news broke that the parliament in Nairobi has finally voted for the new tourism bill, which will bring long overdue new regulatory bodies and a new organizational structure for the public sector of the tourism industry into place.
Now only awaiting the anticipated presidential assent to make it the law of the land, the new bill fundamentally overhauls the set up of the industry. The bodies, some “old ones” in a revised format, and altogether new ones are tasked with specific responsibilities but expected to work hand in hand under the supervision of the Ministry of Tourism, which retains policy formulation and political oversight. A Tourism Regulatory Authority has been created, which will be the licensing, monitoring arm of government, also able to direct enforcement for defaulters and violators of regulations, taking over a range of functions from the present Hotel and Restaurant Authority.
Other bodies will be the Kenya Utalii College, already in existence since the early 70s and a showcase institution of higher learning for the hotel and tourism sector across Africa, the Kenya Tourism Board, the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, and notably a Tourism Protection Service.
Also new will be a Tourism Finance Corporation, which will absorb the previous Tourism Trust Fund and resemble the former Kenya Tourist Development Corporation, and a Tourism Research Institute, which will support the sector with data and case specific studies aimed to improve sectoral performance and lift the product quality across the board while supporting the development of new products.
Finally, a Tourism Tribunal will handle all forms of appeals against decisions taken by these previously mentioned new organizations by stakeholders not satisfied with rulings, to allow a swift resolution of disputes at this level before matters would head to an already overloaded court system.