Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Mr. Najib Balala yesterday officially launched the construction of a dedicated cruise ship terminal at the Port of Mombasa.
The estimated cost of 350 million Kenya Shillings, equivalent to about 35 million US Dollars, will be funded in part by Trademark East Africa to the extent of 100 million Kenya Shillings while the Kenya Ports Authority will fund the balance.
The investment, long overdue like many infrastructure projects at the Kenyan coast, is giving rise to hope that Mombasa will finally break into the international cruise itineraries similar to what is presently unfolding across the Indian Ocean islands, where cruise tourism has boomed in 2016.
Cruise ships, while often in port only for a day or at most for one or two overnights, allow passengers to take in the sights of Kenya’s famous national parks through air safaris, road trips to nearby Shimba Hills and Tsavo national parks and excursions along the coast to see such attractions as Fort Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Each cruise ship stop, in addition to the regular tourism business, also provides opportunities to deliver provisions to the ship, beneficial for local trade.
Construction time is said to be at most a year, finally then bringing Mombasa in line with the ports in South Africa and on the islands like Seychelles, Reunion and Mauritius.
Over the last year did some 10 cruise ships dock in Mombasa and brought around 6.000 passengers to Kenya, a figure which is expected to rise more than tenfold when the new cruise terminal is ready and given that CS Balala directed the Kenya Tourism Board to give cruise marketing priority.
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Thome provides aviation, tourism & conservation news from
Eastern Africa & the Indian Ocean region. (wolfganghthome.wordpress.com)