After many months of sitting idle due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mombasa’s new cruise terminal has finally recieved its first cruise ships with the arrival of World Odyssey and Oceania’s Nautica.
World Odyssey called in November, while Nautica called in Mombasa this week, carrying 800 and 500 cruise passengers repectively, which local tourism officials said would inject much-needed foreign revenue into the local tourism sector.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Peninah Malonza and officials from the Kenya Ports Authority and the Kenya Tourism Board welcomed Nautica to Mombasa and conducted a traditional plaque exchange with the ship’s captain.
“I can without doubt say that out of the arrival of this cruise ship, over Ksh100 million [$800,000] will be injected into the local economy through tourism activities including visits to different attraction sites and hotel accommodations,” Malonza told KBC.
“We expect to have at least three more cruise ships by the end of March 2023,″ she added.
Malonza said her ministry will be actively engaging with relevant stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Transport and tourism operators, to ensure that infrastructure development is undertaken to benefit the cruise industry.
There are plans in place to improve facilities and services including the diversification of shore excursions to help Mombasa stand out among other African cruise destinations.
Ferry services that previously served the mainland, for instance, may be repurposed for local cruises around coastal waters following the construction of the Likoni Gateway Bridge.
“Plans are underway to further enhance the cruise tourism experience with Mombasa Port becoming an integral part of this initiative by improving its facilities and services, including shore excursions that will take cruise passengers on expeditions around Mombasa Island and its environs,” she said.
The Kenyan government is also upgrading the Moi International Airport in Mombasa and Diani Airport in Kwale county to make the port more accessible to the global cruise market, which it is hoped will encourage cruise lines to use the port as a turnaround port.
Cruise destinations earn far more in terms of cruise line and passenger spending when they operate as turnaround ports rather than just call ports. Passengers spend more on hotel accommodation, while the port operator earns more in terms of handling fees and provisions.