TPA is provided for in the 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. Section 11 of the Tourism Regulations Act- TRA, 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 professionals in the industry. TPA believes it is important to bring the entire tourism and hospitality professionals under one organized body comprising practitioners and academia to effectively have a holistic representation in the professional diversity of the Tourism Profession.
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).
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 an established tourism professionals and practitioners’ body to be known as the Tourism Professional Association.
(2) The object and purpose for which the Association is established are 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 the tourism sector Code of Practice.”
Relationship between TPA and KTF
The professionals and practitioner 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 represent 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 the government. We have also experienced some crazy decisions by government or senior government agencies and clearly, you can straight away see a 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 a clear mandate for 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 in counties. National outfits and associations may not realize the national presence of representatives 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 representation, 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 the 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 the certification of a trained and certified lawyer. But we allow everyone as long as they have money to set up hotels or training institutions and set their own standards and run them? Yes, TRA can handle this, but the tourism law requires that TPA works with TRA.
EAC platform: The ongoing going hotel classification in Kenya is being done together with other EAC member states. In a section on HR, for one to qualify for 3 stars 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 a professional body.
Trends the world over for professionals to self-regulate: In Kenya, Human resource management, Public relations, Lawyers and doctors even teachers are all professionals that have organized their professions and are recognized in law. Tourism, despite being the 2nd highest contributor to GDP is left to others to manage. Many times such persons are not keen on professional standards whether in training or practice.
It has also been confirmed that there are very few professors in Kenya in the tourism and hospitality fields. This is attributed to the 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.
Our mission is to apply standardized and universal procedures for individual and corporate accreditation for purposes of registration of all qualified tourism and hospitality practitioners;
We endeavors to:
- Liaise with the relevant department to administer a comprehensive code of ethical standards and procedures to guide professional behavior;
- Provide support for Continuing Professional Development through learning opportunities
- Publish professional journals and magazines;
- Provide networks for professionals to meet and discuss their field of expertise;
- Ensure members are well informed and knowledgeable about the operational procedures of the strategic plans and professional projects being implemented in the tourism and hospitality industry;
- Provide career support and opportunities for students, graduates and the current workforce;
- Oversee the development of training programmes and the certification of professional qualifications;
- Deal with complaints against professionals and implement disciplinary procedures;
- Affiliate to any other association of body having similar aims and objectives in, and or outside of the Republic of Kenya;
- Expand and form branches within and or outside the Republic of Kenya for the
furtherance of its aims and objectives.