Kenya wants to become a cruise tourism destination

Kenya wants to get a piece of the cruise tourism pie according to Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife, Najib Balala.

At a recent tourism event in Nairobi, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife Najib Balala indicated that Kenya wants to tap into the tourism market. “Cruise tourism is growing globally and Kenya wants to be part of it,” he indicated. According to the State Secretary, over 76 million of travellers are going on a cruise every year but so far, sub-Saharan Africa has been excluded from the cruise business.

The Kenyan government is consequently investing into cruise facilities. A new cruise terminal in Mombasa is due to open its doors before the end of the year. The project started in 2016 and represents a total investment of 3.4 million US dollars. Mombasa already receives a few cruise ships every year but numbers remain tiny with less than 5,000 arrivals. Mombasa is a stop-over generally on a route linking Zanzibar to the Seychelles.

Najib Balala said that there is a strong potential to develop cruise tourism along the east coast of Africa towards the Indian Ocean. This includes Capetown and Durban in South Africa, Madagascar, Maputo and Beira in Mozambique, Zanzibar in Tanzania, the Seychelles, Mauritius and finally Mombasa. “We need not only to have Mombasa working well but also Zanzibar or Durban to be sure that safety and good standards are available for cruise liners,” highlighted the Secretary of Tourism and Wildlife.

The new Mombasa cruise terminal will be a game changer to the local tourism industry as it will help attract more international tourists to the country. According to Najib Balal, Mombasa could in the future attract as many as 140,000 tourists per year as highlighted by a report of the Kenya Ports Authority about cruise tourism potential. The study was released in 2015 by Tourism and Transport Consult International.

Photo: Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala speaking at the launch of the new development of the cruise ship term