Kenya is a great tourism destination and attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world every year. Tourism is a multi-billion shilling industry in the country, offering thousands of jobs to the many jobless Kenyans. However, there are some factors that tend to derail the progress and prosperity of tourism in the country, especially at the Kenya’s coast where many visitors head because of the tranquility and stunning beaches, the clean warm waters of the Indian ocean which is ideal for water sports and safaris.
Despite the suitability of the Coastal beaches like Diani beach, the swelling number of beach operators, commonly referred to as beach boys is hurting the industry. The services offered by these individuals especially showing Kenya’s artworks, selling Maasai sandals and other great inimitable masterpieces is highly welcome and many tourists appreciate this. However, the main issue that soils everything is the poor approach employed to make a sale.
The approach by beach boys in most coastal beaches is a bit disturbing and can amount to nothing short of harassment. Yes, it is appreciated that the young people are at the coast trying to earn an honest living. However, following tourists all over with whatever you might be selling does not in any way endear the seller to the buyer. There are times and places where hawking can really be irritating, and one of those places is waking a person from an afternoon nap, relaxing and appreciating nature only to tell them that you would like them to buy one or two products you are hawking.
Let us be decent, there are designated markets towards the entrance of all major beaches at the coast where you are free to showcase your products and appeal to buyers, you don’t have to thrust them below their noses to attract their attention. Furthermore, a crowd of over ten hawkers swarming over one or two tourists, who might not even be interested in whatever is being sold, is nauseating and unsafe. That doesn’t end there; most of the prices for these commodities are also inflated, just because the targets are tourists. It is a poor sales and marketing strategy.
Another thorny issue are the young men and women flocking the beaches most visited by tourists for all the wrong reasons, sex trade. It is not cool at all, for young men and women to stalk both local and foreign visitors with offers of sex or insinuating otherwise. If the visitors need anything, they know where to look for; you don’t have to pester them at all. Marketing is a very difficult profession, that is ok, but you can never make sales if you first annoy the buyer.
It is all about responsible behaviour and conduct of business. Visitors shouldn’t feel scared to sunbathe in our pristine sand at the coast or plunge into the warm waters of the Indian ocean simply because they are scared to be harassed by beach boys or related characters. Let us be responsible and boost our tourism industry.