The tourism sector is set for a major boost after the completion of the Ksh 1 billion modern cruise terminal at the Port of Mombasa.
According to Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) General Manager in charge of Infrastructure Development Vincent Sidai, the contractor is now undertaking final touches including equipping the facility ahead of the official commissioning.
The modern cruise terminal funded by KPA includes a passenger lobby, duty-free shops, restaurants, conference facilities and office spaces for key tourism stakeholders.
Eng Sidai said the terminal that aims at tapping the international lucrative cruise tourism will have similar facilities like airports and will go a long way to attract more cruise ships and promote tourism in the country.
The KPA official was speaking during the Coast Regional Development Implementation Coordination Committee (RDICC) meeting at the Kenya School of Government in Mombasa.
The meeting chaired by the Coast Regional Commissioner (RC) John Elungata took place at the newly constructed ultra-modern auditorium, making it the first time for the forum to take place outside the traditional Provincial Administration headquarters at Uhuru na Kazi.
Despite not having a cruise terminal, Mombasa Port was in 2015 voted Africa’s Leading Cruise Port at the World Travel Awards.
Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the coastal city had witnessed an upsurge in cruise ships bringing hundreds of high spending tourists from different parts of the world.
Elungata said the project was crucial towards the promotion of the tourism industry, describing it as a game-changer.
“This project will increase the fortunes of the tourism sector and position the country as a leading cruise destination globally,” said Elungata.
He said after the commissioning of the terminal, the country should embark on aggressive marketing to promote the Port of Mombasa internationally to attract more holidaymakers.
Elungata noted the project was part of the measures put in place by the government to promote tourism at the coast which accounts for over 60 per cent of the country.
The Administrator said, “the facility is an added product to the tourism sector as the country already offers a multifaceted destination combining exotic beaches, national parks and historical sites.”
Elungata noted that the completion of the modern cruise terminal comes immediately after the recent commissioning of Lamu Port which is expected to catapult Kenya into the league of key global transhipment and commercial maritime hubs.
“The region is a recipient of multi-billion national government mega projects which includes newly constructed and upgraded key roads in all the six counties,” said the RC.
He said the construction of Shimoni Fishing Port will commence soon and that upon completion will raise the living standard of area residents and also promote other economic activities in the region and the country at large.
By Haniel Mengistu