Mama Ngina Drive Waterfront in Mombasa whose construction nears completion is set to host two major events this year.
The Sh.460 million modern recreational facility will be the venue of World Tourism Day on September 27 and Mashujaa Day celebrations on October 20.
This was announced on Friday by Tourism Cabinet Secretary (CS), Najib Balala when he inspected the construction progress of the facility.
The project, launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in January this year was scheduled to be handed over to the government on Thursday, but the contractor Suhufi Agency Limited is still working on final touches.
“The contractor is now working on the Presidential Square which was not in the original design,” said Balala who was accompanied by his PS, Joe Okudo.
He said the facility will be handed over to the National Celebrations Steering Committee three weeks before the October 20 Mashujaa Day.
Balala said, “The World Tourism Day will serve as rehearsal for the Mashujaa Day Celebrations when the waterfront facility will be officially launched.
The CS added that plans are underway to form a management board to oversee the recreational facility which has elicited excitement within the tourism industry.
This will be the first modem public recreational area that aims at transforming the famous Mama Ngina Drive to international standards and reposition Mombasa as a top tourist destination in the region.
The project is seen as an added product to the tourism sector as the country already offers a multifaceted destination combining exotic beaches, national parks and historical sites.
Stakeholders in the industry said the waterfront facility will raise the profile of Mombasa and other tourist areas in coast region and attract more international and local visitors.
The seafront project adjacent to Likoni ferry entails a public square, two iconic gateways, a Swahili cultural center, amphitheater, modern kiosks, restaurants and parking areas among other facilities.
The Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology has already put in place ICT infrastructure for high-speed internet at the recreational facility to enhance communication and security of the park.
This was disclosed by ICT Principal Secretary (PS), Jerome Ochieng when the Sub-Committee of the National Development Implementation Technical Committee inspected the project last week.
The PS said with high quality internet connectivity, the project will provide an ideal platform for establishment of innovation hub, cybercafé and also help youth to promote their talents.
The Chairman of the Sub-Committee, Prof. Paul Maringa said this is the first modern recreational facility in the region which is expected to boost the number of both local and international visitors to the coastal city.
“The waterfront park is projected to attract over 1.5 million visitors during the December holidays,” said Prof. Maringa.
On his part, Okudo said besides being a major boost to the tourism industry, the recreational facility which is a joint venture between the national government and Mombasa county government will also promote the coastal city’s history, culture of the people and offer an ideal venue for festivals and other social events.
By Mohamed Hassan