Kenya looks to cruises to boost tourism

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - AFRICA -

MOMBASA: Kenya’s tourism mar­keters this week wel­comed 576 tourists who ar­rived aboard MS Nau­tica, mark­ing the first cruise ship arrival this year.

Kenya Tourism Board chief ex­ec­u­tive Betty Radier said the ship ar­rived in the tourism re­sort city of Mombasa from Zanz­ibar and was sched­uled for a day-stop be­fore it sailed on to Mahé is­land in the Sey­chelles.

“The ship’s arrival re­flects the use of Mombasa as a port of call, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing the east coast city has the only port in the re­gion where dis­em­bark­ing pas­sen­gers can go on a short sa­fari dur­ing their stop,” Radier said.

She said the cruise ship’s arrival was a boon for the coastal re­gion’s tourism sec­tor even as the fes­tive sea­son drew to an end.

Au­thor­i­ties have vowed to de­velop and pro­mote cruise tourism in­stead of re­ly­ing solely on beaches and sa­faris for mar­ket­ing.

The coun­try of­fered a des­ti­na­tion with di­verse and rich tourism attractions and was a renowned tourist brand in the world mar­ket, said Radier.

It had a bad year for cruise tourism in 2011, when only 1200 tourists ar­rived by sea.

The down­turn was at­trib­uted to piracy across the In­dian Ocean, among other fac­tors.

Dur­ing their stop on Thurs­day, the tourists vis­ited Am­boseli Na­tional Park and toured var­i­ous parts of Mombasa, in­clud­ing Fort Je­sus, a his­tor­i­cal site built be­tween 1593 and 1596 and one of the most out­stand­ing and well pre­served ex­am­ples of 16th Por­tuguese mil­i­tary for­ti­fi­ca­tion and a land­mark in the his­tory of this type of con­struc­tion.

The cruise ship docked barely a fort­night after the MS Sil­ver Spirit, a lux­ury cruise ship with 472 pas­sen­gers, made its maiden stop.

Shimba Hills, Mwalu­ganje Ele­phant Sanc­tu­ary, Tsavo East and Tsavo West as well as Am­boseli are among the na­tional parks within easy reach of trav­ellers.

Kenya’s main mode of tourist ar­rivals thus re­mains air trans­port, largely through Jomo Keny­atta In­ter­na­tional Air­port in the cap­i­tal, Nairobi, and Moi In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Mombasa.

Kenya’s core tourism products have fo­cused on beach and sa­fari be­cause of the coun­try’s 480km coast­line and abun­dance of wildlife. But be­cause of com­pe­ti­tion in tourism and chang­ing con­sumer tastes, tourism pro­mo­tions have been en­riched to in­clude ad­ven­ture, cul­ture, eco-tourism, sport, golf, bird­ing and busi­ness. – Xin­hua


Tourists dis­em­bark from cruise ship MS Nau­tica, which docked at Mombasa, Kenya, this week. The coun­try is try­ing to broaden its tourism base, brush­ing up its ap­peal to cruise ship vis­i­tors.

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