Kenya looks to cruises to boost tourism
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.