The government has been urged to give more incentives to international cruise liners to encourage them to make more frequent calls at the Port of Mombasa.
Mr Bobby Kamani, Managing Director of Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa and a member of the Coast Tourism Working Group in an interview with The Standard said that while it was highly commendable for the government to convert berth 1 at the Port of Mombasa into a modern cruise handling terminal, there was need to carry out aggressive marketing of the Port Cruise infrastructure and give incentives that would attract more vessels to call at the Port.
”My suggestion is that Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) could start giving Port waivers for vessels that call at the Port. It would be enticing to have cruise liners call and spend more than 24 hours so that passengers can take their time out and visit areas of interest,” Kamani said.
Kamani commended announcement by Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary, Mr Najib Balala that the country’s top tourism marketer, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) will establish a special desk to market and handle cruise tourism matters.
”This is a move in the right direction. Hence other key stakeholders need to follow suit and offer support to actualise full implementation of the Cruise terminal which will be a game changer,” Kamani said.
Balala announced that completion works of the Sh450 million state-of-the-art new cruise ship terminal will be over by August 2019.
The facility is expected to have state-of-the-art security features, an immigration center, a hotel and accommodation facility and other social amenities.
The terminal will also allow the simultaneous berthing of two Oasis-class cruise ship, which are among the world largest passenger ships.
In last season’s circuit of 2017- 2018, Kenya recorded an impressive number of over 4,747 high-spending tourists from the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada and other nationalities coming through the cruise ships.
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A total of six ships docked at the port of Mombasa between October 2017 and March of 2018.
Among the ships that docked at the port city of Mombasa included; MS Isgnia with 1,066 tourists and Omani luxury cruise ship christened Fulk Al Salamah (ship of peace) on with 350 passengers on board.
MS Silver Spirit and MS Nautica made two trips to Kenya during the last season.
MS Silver Spirit first came to Kenya with 472 tourists and 365 crew members then came the second time with 890 tourists whereas MS Nautica, a Norwegian vessel, made its first call in the country on November 25 with 642 passengers and later on came with 962 passengers.