Kenya is benefiting from infrastructural development at the newly revamped cruise terminal at the port of Mombasa which has helped the destination tap into the cruise tourism segment .
So far, the destination has received 3,000 visitors in the last 2 months on board three vessels, which have docked on the new cruise terminal. Further, two more cruise ships are expected to call on the port before the end of this quarter.
While receiving 800 visitors and crew aboard the MV World Odyssey (Semester at Sea) cruise ship at the Port of Mombasa on Thursday Morning, Tourism PS John Ololtuaa said that the development of the terminal was significant with more cruise planners now targeting Kenya within their itineraries. He also noted that the return of the vessel was testament to the appeal the destination has among international travellers.
“We are delighted to have the MV World Odyssey make a second call within two months. This is a clear indicator of the growing interest by cruise companies in our destination and in particular the Coastal region which forms a key component of Kenya’s multi-dimensional tourism product. It also shows that infrastructure development is key for tourism to thrive. The expansion of airports and the road network across the county is critical for tourism to grow and thrive,” PS Ololtuaa said “We want to capitalize on the niche cruise tourism market as part of our diversified tourism marketing strategy”
He also noted that cruise tourists form a crucial part of the tourism industry owing to their high spend thereby generating additional crucial revenue to the destination. “Cruise tourism is a high value market worth billions of dollars especially for destinations that have invested heavily in the relevant infrastructure as well as marketing their destinations globally. We want to ensure that this segment continues to contribute significantly to Kenya’s tourism sector as well as leverage on this potential by ensuring that we diversify our maritime products. The presence of these voyagers in the country is a welcome addition to the market as we look to push tourism activities and increase tourism arrivals into the country.” Added the PS
The MV World Odyssey is the third cruise vessel to call on the newly refurbished Port of Mombasa cruise terminal this season. The vessel, which is owned and managed by Semester at Sea, had its maiden call to Kenya in November last year marking a return of cruise ships to the Mombasa Port since the Covid-19 pandemic. This was followed by the MS Nautica which made its inaugural Kenyan call a month later on the 25th December 2022.
The over 2,000 voyagers on board the two vessels had an opportunity to experience products, opportunities and attractions in Kenya including; the Bombolulu suburb, Haller Park, Tsavo National Park as well as other city excursions that gave them an insight of the true magic of Kenya. The MV World Odyssey will be in Mombasa for six days with the voyagers expected to visit various attractions at the Kenyan coast.
On his part, Kenya Tourism Board Ag. CEO John Chirchir said: “The return of MV World Odyssey to Magical Kenya shows that the destination has tourism opportunities that suit every visitor who lands here. With the enhanced experiences at the Kenyan Coast and other parts of the destination, we take pride in being able to accommodate global visitors of diverse interests and tastes. We are certain that the voyagers will enjoy their stay here.”
The Coastal region has witnessed an increase in the number of tourists during the festive season with hotels recording 100 percent bookings. The cruise tourists have added to this boom, making it a very busy season for businesses and service providers within the tourism sub-sector.
The government has recently stepped up efforts to improve infrastructure and policies to ensure the tourism sector especially cruise ship operations thrive in the country. The refurbishment of the cruise ship terminal at the Port of Mombasa is one such initiative that has played a key role in enhancing port operations and creating a more attractive environment for cruise ships to call.