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Cruise ship docks with 859 tourists

The tourism sector at the coast received a major boost as the cruise ship MV Bollete, carrying 859 tourists, docked at the port of Mombasa.

This is the sixth and last cruise ship to dock at the port of Mombasa this season.

A section of the tourists embarked on various travel expeditions, with some heading to Shimba Hills, Tsavo, and Diani, and others choosing to explore Mombasa city.

Addressing the media after receiving the tourists at the Kenya Ports Authority Cruise Terminal in Mombasa, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Acting Chief Executive Officer John Chirchir said that this presents an opportunity for the six coastal counties to work together to capitalise on the cruise ship tourism sector.

Tourists who arrived aboard MV Bolette being entertained by traditional dancers in Mombasa. Photo by Haniel Mengistu

“We are seeing an opportunity for the Jumuia ya Kaunti za Pwani (JKP) to work together to tap into the business of cruise tourism,” said Chirchir.

Chirchir said that KTB is working round the clock to revive cruise tourism in Kenya, hinting that campaigns are going on to attract more vessels to Kenya.

“There is a lot of marketing going on, and we expect to receive about 13 ships by April next year,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of KPA Managing Director Captain William Ruto, KPA General Manager Cargo Operations Dr. Sudi Mwasinago said that the port plays a pivotal role in reviving the cruise ship business in Kenya.

Mwasinago said that KPA is at the centre of the business, and the port plays an interface role between land and sea for the vessels.

“Our role is to support and facilitate this type of business because it is good for the port because we are gaining through the charges. The county, the country, and the economy are gaining momentum,” said Mwasinago.

He said that what cruises are doing to the port is invaluable, adding that for the last year, the port received six cruise ships, and they expect more next year.

Mombasa County Trade, Tourism, and Culture Executive Mohammed Osman hailed the arrival of the vessel as a sign of confidence that Mombasa remains the preferred tourist destination for both local and international tourists.

The city is flocking with tourists during this festive season, with thousands thronging beaches and other tourist sites within the city.

The refurbished Mama Ngina Waterfront Park is currently playing host to the Mombasa International Festival, which began on Christmas Day and will go all the way to December 31.

“The Mombasa County Government will continue working closely with KPA and other stakeholders in the tourism industry to ensure that we revamp our city as the number one leading tourist destination in Kenya,” said Osman.

MV Bolette, belonging to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, docked at the Port Cruise Terminal from Port Victoria in the Seychelles with passengers of mixed nationalities and 1000 crew members and will leave for Zanzibar after an overnight stay in Mombasa to continue with its Indian Ocean voyage.

By Sadik Hassan

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