The port of Mombasa continues to attract more visitors during this festive season after another cruise ship docked with at least five hundred tourists.
The cruise ship christened MV Nautica docked at the coastal city with 572 tourists on board before top government officials led by Tourism Cabinet Secretary Penina Malonza who was flanked by officials from the Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Tourism Board received the guests.
The new arrivals come after another cruise ship the MV World Odyssey, with about 800 tourists docked at the port in November as both domestic and international visitors made a record booking in hotels since the outbreak of Covid 19 pandemic.
The business boon comes after the Construction of the Kshs. 1.3 billion terminal started in 2016 and was completed in 2019 as the government intensified plans to market the coastal region as a tourism destination.
The terminal features a three-story building and has similar facilities like at the airports including the duty-free shops, lounges, restaurants and conference facilities and officials including port health, logistics and immigration.
“I can without doubt say that out of the arrival of this cruise ship, over Sh100 million will be injected into the local economy through tourism activities including visits to different attraction sites and hotel accommodation,” said Malonza.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Penina Malonza, also reiterated that as a government, they intend to grow cruise tourism as a niche product.
“We expect to have at least three more cruise ships by the end of March 2023″said the CS Penina Malonza.
Malonza said her ministry will be actively engaging with relevant stakeholders, among them the Ministry of Transport and tourism operators to ensure that the cruise industry benefits from the presence of relevant infrastructure at the Kenyan coast.
The CS announced that plans were underway to improve facilities and services including diversification of excursions that shall be marketed to cruise passengers on expeditions in the destination.
The Government, she said, will also continue to develop and implement tourism policies that will improve the experience of tourists visiting the country, and specifically at the coast region.
“In line with this, the government has already put in place infrastructure projects such as the upgrade of the Moi International Airport in Mombasa and Diani Airport in Kwale county, as well as road infrastructure to support tourism”
“Plans are underway to further enhance the cruise tourism experience with Mombasa Port becoming an integral part of this initiative by improving its facilities and services, including shore excursions that will take cruise passengers on expeditions around Mombasa Island and its environs,” she said.
The ship will leave Mombasa territorial waters today Sunday evening heading to Zanzibar, then Cape Town in South Africa before heading to Japan after one day excursions by the holiday makers in Tsavo National Park and a tour of Mombasa tourist attraction sites.
Before docking at Mombasa Saturday night, the vessel had cruised from the Mediterranean Sea in November heading to Dubai then India.
The KPA chairman General (Rtd) Joseph Kibwana was represented by Captain Geoffrey Namadoa, the harbor master and general manager marine operations.
Namadoa said that KPA had invested heavily in the Sh1.3 billion cruise ship terminal at the port and focused on branding the terminal as the best in the region and Africa at large for cruise tourism.
“The coming of this second cruise ship in less than a month is indeed a testimony that our marketing strategy is working,” said Namadoa.
Namadoa also revealed that plans were already underway to turn the ferry services into local cruises around the coastal waters to add value in the wake of the construction of the ambitious Sh85 billion Likoni Gateway Bridge.
By Haniel Kabara