20 January 2014

Kenya: More Cruise Ships Expected to Dock in Mombasa

Nairobi — The number of cruise ships docking at the Port of Mombasa is expected to increase this year following a drop in piracy incidents at the Indian Ocean. More than 600 tourists docked at the port on Monday aboard cruise ship MV Nautica with Kenya being part of their worldwide tour that will take them to Sri Lanka, Thailand and China.

Speaking to journalists in Mombasa, Alexandar Rus, an official of the cruise organisers said MV Nautica will consider increasing the number of its visits to explore tourism diversity in Kenya. "We started from Europe and now we are headed to Asia. We have also been doing a lot of Africa safaris. At the moment we are only spending one day in Mombasa," she said.

The tourists are expected to visit the Tsavo National Park, Shimba Hills Game Reserve, and historical sites such as Fort Jesus. This was the cruise vessel's second visit to Mombasa as it made another stopover on December 26, en-route to Tanzania in another tour around the world.

Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Executive Officer (Coast) Sam Ikwaye encouraged tour operators handling cruise ships to plan for far longer excursion periods for tourists on board cruise liners.

He said the arrival of the cruise ship signified confidence on Kenya's security. He says the docking of the ship at the port confirmed that the waters of Indian Ocean were secure and since the incursion of Kenya troops in Somalia. Kenya Seafarers Union (KSU) Secretary General Andrew Mwangura said cases of piracy have dropped significantly.

According to a report by the International Chamber of Commerce, there were only 15 incidents reported off Somalia in 2013, down from 75 in 2012, and 237 in 2011. "The region is slowly regaining its lost glory in hosting thousands of visitors from across the globe every year," Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association chairman Mohamed Hersi said.

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