TPA is provided for in our new Tourism Act 2011, which is the legislation responsible for the development, management, marketing and regulation of sustainable tourism and tourism-related activities and services in Kenya. Section 4 of the aforesaid statute establishes the Tourism Regulatory Authority. In Section 11 of the Tourism Regulations Act- TRA, it further establishes a Tourism Professional and Practitioner’s Body known as Tourism Professional Association. Like many professions the world over, this development is significant in realizing the full potential of the tourism industry in Kenya by getting the involvement of the professionals in the industry. TPA believes that it is important to bring the entire tourism and hospitality professionals under one organized body comprising of practitioners and academia to effectively have a holistic representation in the professional diversity of Tourism Profession.
To date different stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industry in Kenya including practitioners as well as members of academia from various universities and training institutions have advanced in the formative stages of establishing a tourism and hospitality professionals’ organization. The establishment of such an organization as stated above is brought about by the need to form a self-regulating professional association as envisaged in Section 11 (1).
So far, the interim committee conducted sensitization forums in Coast region, Western region and Nakuru , Nyeri and Nairobi where over 1,700 practitioners were contacted and expressed their support to this new development.
We are currently working on programs to facilitate:
- Establishment of programs that will build strong collaborative partnerships between industry, academia and government
- Realization of TRA’s mandate through TPA as provided for in TRA Regulations at Regulation 11 which provides;
(1) There is established a tourism professionals and practitioners’ body to be known as the Tourism Professional Association.
(2) The object and purpose for which the Association is established is to provide a framework for tourism professionals and practitioners for self regulation.
(3)The Authority shall keep a register of all tourism professionals and practitioners.
(4)The Authority shall, in consultation with the Association and other relevant stakeholders, develop and implement tourism sector Code of Practice.”
Relationship between TPA and KTF.
The professionals and practitioners body is a provision in our new tourism Act. KTF will still exist since it is the umbrella organization for Seven (7) trade associations which in most cases represents owners of businesses. For the longest time since independence, Kenya’s tourism is reported to have developed by default. We did not have a published tourism act thus a lot of decisions were made by investors and government. We have also experienced some crazy decisions by government or senior government agencies and clearly you can straight away see lack of professional input in the quality of the decisions.
Five (5 ) justifications for TPA today:
- Tourism act :The act as cited above has made provisions and clear mandate to TPA in Kenya. We want to implement the Act and support the development of the industry
- Constitutions and devolution:With devolution and county arrangements, a lot of advocacy and lobbying is now concentrated at counties. National outfits and associations may not realize national presence of representation of all tourism professionals. We are currently experiencing small associations forming in each corner of the country and regional groupings meaning that there is a gap in representation. As much as the new tourism act recognizes stakeholders’ representation in tourism boards in Kenya, we have few chances that professionals away from Nairobi and Mombasa will get a chance of representations, but through TPA this national representation will be achieved.
- Diversity of investment:More Kenyans now own hotels and accommodation and tourism facilities as investors. New training institutions are also being set up every day. We are experiencing situations where standards of operating the hotels and most emerging tourism facilities and investments are being decided by the owners. In Kenya for example, you cannot build a hospital facility and run it without proof of professional doctors being in charge. You still cannot run a law firm without certification of a trained and certified lawyer. BUT we allow everyone as long as they have money to set up hotels or trainings institutions and set own standards and run them? Yes, TRA can handle this, but the tourism law requires that TPA works with TRA.
- EAC plat form : The ongoing going hotel classification in Kenya is being done together with other EAC members states. In a section on HR, for one to qualify for 3stars rating and above, “it is recommended that all heads of department from three (3) stars and above be members of a national and /or international professional body”. This provision is in the EAC classification criteria. In essence, no accommodation facility can achieve 3 stars in the absence of the professional body.
- Trends world over for professionals to self regulate:In Kenya, Human resource management, Public relations, Lawyers and doctors even teachers are all professional that have organized their professions and recognized in law. Tourism, despite being 2ndhighest contributor to GDP is left to others to manage. Many times such persons are not keen on the professional standards weather in training or practice.
It has also been confirmed that there are very few professors in Kenya in tourism and hospitality fields. This is attributed to lack of a clear carrier progression. As tourism and hospitality professionals, we want to ensure we preserve the profession. After 1st diploma, or degree, very few are going back to advance in the field of tourism and hospitality.
Note: Refer to key presentation under downloads.
“ It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn how to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad….” C.S Levis.