The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Two Ships With 1,000 UK Tourists Due in Mombasa

Two cruise ships with an estimated 1,000 tourists on board are expected in Mombasa between December 24 and January 26 next year.

MV Nautica, with about 654 tourists from Britain, and 401 crew members, is expected to dock at the Mombasa port at 6am on Monday.

Head of Tourist Police unit Wilberforce Sicharani yesterday told the Star yesterday that the British ship made its first call at a Seychelles port and will arrive in Kenya for a one-day tour and then head to Zanzibar.

"We have lined up a series of activities for them including taking them to Tsavo and Shimba Hills game reserves," said Sicharani.

He added that another cruise ship, MV Deutschland from Germany, with 424 passengers and 274 crew members is also scheduled for Mombasa on December 31.

"Of 654 that will arrive on Monday, 160 will visit Tsavo on arrival, 60 will be taken to Shimba Hills for a day-long tour before the entire lot departs to Zanzibar on the same day at 6pm," said the source.

The ships are making their calls at the port of Mombasa at a time when issues of insecurity have been reported as one of the factors eating up into the tourism industry with Coast region bearing the brunt of effects.

Kenya Tourist Board last week said the number of tourists at the Coast declined by over 23 per cent but expressed optimisim that cruise ship tourism may be back on the fold following reduced piracy activities in the Indian Ocean

Sicharani said that the move is an assurance to the rest of the world that Kenya is a safe tourist destination despite the many challenges.

"What you are seeing is a result of the recent war Kenya won against piracy and al Shabaab in Somalia. Since then, issues of hijacking and other insecurity related to terrorism have reduced," said Sicharani.

He added that one such ship with a huge number of tourists docked at the port of Mombasa back in 2009. Other two ships are also expected at the port in dates between January 18 and 26 this year with undisclosed number of tourists.

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