KENYA Tourist Board boss Mureithi Ndegwa has said the arrival of another cruise ship in Mombasa is an indication that the tourism sector is slowly picking up.
Ndegwa said this yesterday at Mombasa port berth number 18 where he received MV Deutschland, a German flag cruise ship, with more than 411 tourist and 217 crew members on board.
"This is a strong indication that not only is cruise tourism recovering but also the entire sector is gaining momentum. It also shows that the Kenyan coastline is a safe tourist destination," he said.
Ndegwa praised the government for its work in bolstering security especially combating piracy at the Indian Ocean and the war against al Shabaab insurgents by KDF. He said many of the tourists have disembarked from the ship and will be taking a day long tour of the region with some going to Tsavo, Shimba hills and other destinations within Mombasa.
The cruise ship is on a long journey along the African coastline. It has already been to Comoros Island and and after Kenya is set for Seychelles. Sources also indicate that two other cruise ships are expected at the port between January 18 and 26 with an undisclosed number of tourists.
Ndegwa said the 2007 post poll chaos had a negative impact on cruise tourism and the tourism sector in general. He said Kenya also lost its cruise ship business to South Africa due to rampant pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean.
He said the slump came despite intense campaigns by KTB to market Kenya in Europe which is the country's largest cruise tourism market.
In 2012, not a single cruise ship docked on Kenya's port until December 24 when MV Nautica US flag ship, with about 654 tourists from Britain, and 401 crew members arrived.