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A rebound of cruise ship tourism boon to government, hoteliers and traders


The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife is on course to achieve its target of attracting 12,000 cruise ship tourists and collecting Ksh2 billion in revenue.

Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Tourism and Wildlife Dr Alfred Mutua welcomed 2500 tourists and 1000 crew members who arrived at the port of Mombasa aboard cruise vessel MSC Poesia.

Since the beginning of the cruise season in November last year four ships have arrived with 8480 tourists.

The arrival of the vessel is a boon to taxi, curio and hoteliers, last year 3123 cruise ships came to the country. More than two cruise vessels have docked with more than 5000 tourists this year.

“This year, we are expecting to get more than Ksh2B from the 12,000 cruise ship tourists, we should be getting more,” said Dr Mutua.

However, he noted that the vessel will stay in Mombasa for a maximum of 12 hours because of the yellow fever requirement set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“We are going to talk to WHO about the requirement, but it is also up to us that the ship before it comes to Kenya we talk to the cruise ship company before people board they have yellow fever inoculation,” stated the CS.

Most of the tourists are expected to go for excursions in Diani, Watamu, Wasini, Mombasa and other parts of the country.

Early this morning, CS Mutua said about 70 tourists jetted off to Maasai Mara National Park and that visit alone for the next few hours they will leave behind Ksh23M in Kenya.

The visit by the cruise ship according to calculations by the Ministry of Tourism, the country is expecting to rake Ksh50M in a short time.

“The bookings that we have so far are more than 12,000 visitors coming by cruise ships. The reality is that 12,000 people are a drop in the ocean because Kenya should receive 140,000 visitors by cruise ships,” said CS Mutua.

He added that the government is keen to ensure tourists have the best experience in the country. The ministry has initiated several changes to revamp the tourism sector. The CS plans to visit all 47 to identify a new tourism circuit.

CS Mutua urged tourism players to leverage value tourism through the provision of the best services as the country is competing with many countries. He hailed the Kenya Electronic System for Travel Authorization (eTA) for streamlining the clearance of tourists.

Daniel Kinyutu, Chairman of the Mombasa Port Curio Sellers Association said their business is thriving because of the high number of tourists. He encourages the Kenya Tourism Board to keep on marketing the country as the best destination.

Alexander Joe an Australian on holiday with his wife, they have been cruising for more than a month.

“Of all the ports we have gone, this is the best port we feel welcomed. We want to say thank you to Kenya and the people of Kenya, will look forward to going on safari. We want to say thank you for letting us come into your and enjoying the privileges of your people,” said Joe.

Capt. Robert Leota noted that it’s the ship’s maiden voyage to Kenya but they will keep coming back because of her beauty.

“This is the beginning of the series, thank you for the hospitality. I am sure our passengers will enjoy our stay today,” said Capt. Leota, adding that next time they will stay for at least three days.


Haniel Mengistu
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