Kenya Tourism Sector got a major boost after a cruise vessel docked at the port of Mombasa.
Speaking while receiving the visitors, Principal Secretary (PS) of the State Department for Tourism, John Ololtua accompanied by Kenya Port Authority and Kenya Tourism Board officials, said the arrival of the ship is an indication of tourism confidence.
He said the Tourism Sector is on an upward trajectory both locally and internationally owing to investor confidence.
The Cruise Ship named World Odyssey that had 620 Passengers and 175 Crew Members on board, sailed from Mumbai and will dock at the port for 6 days before heading to Jordan.
Ololtua said that most of the passengers on board are students and are here to join and take part in exchange programs with Kenyan Universities.
“I am certain that apart from the exchange programs in the universities our visitors will also tour some of our historical sites and parks and this is going to create a great impact on the economy of our country,” Ololtua said.
“Tourism generally is one of the critical sectors that bring a lot of foreign exchange to the country and Cruise Tourism is a niche market which Kenya seeks to capitalize on as part of the coastal development to be able to boost our economy,” he added.
The PS expressed his delight on the increase of the Cruise Ships docking at the Coast which is a result of the improved infrastructure, security and the lifting of the Indian Ocean from the list of the High Risk Areas by the International Maritime Organization.
Ololtua stated that as a ministry, they are expanding the use of digital technology to market all the products and services the sector can offer to the world to attract more visitors.
He gave assurance that they are also working closely with the Ministry of Transport and related Parastatals to facilitate more direct flights and road network to ensure that visitors and tourists have better access to their destinations of choice.
The Acting Chief Executive officer (CEO) of the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), John Chirchir, said that the Cruise Ships Companies and organizers have pledged to visit the country more often, noting that the MV World Odyssey is the third Passenger Ship to have docked at the coast since last year November and that they are expecting another to arrive in February.
The Kenya Ports Authority General Manager in charge of Corporate Services, Edward Kamau said that Mombasa Port being the only Safari Port in the country has been playing a very critical role in facilitating cruise tourism in the country.
MV World Odyssey is a Passenger Cruise Ship built in 1998 (25 years old) which is currently sailing under the flag of Bahamas and serves as a travelling home and campus for 600 students under the program ‘Semester at Sea’.
Semester at Sea is a study-abroad program on a ship open to all students of all majors, emphasizing global comparative study which was founded in 1963 and managed by the Institute for Shipboard Education in Fort Collins Colorado and sponsored by Colorado State University.
By Fatuma Said