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Return of cruise ships signals better times for tourism sector

By Philip Mwakio | Nov 21st 2015 | 2 min read
By Philip Mwakio | November 21st 2015

The tourism industry is beaming with confidence following resumption of cruise ship arrivals at the Port of Mombasa.

Four cruise liners have sailed into Mombasa this year, in what observers say could herald better tidings from the lucrative tourism segment. Cruise liners abandoned voyages into Kenyan waters several months ago due to sea piracy from Somalia, political instability and insecurity on the East Africa seaboard.

Statistics show global demand for cruising worldwide increased 68 per cent in the last decade from 13.4 million passengers in 2004 to 22.4 million in 2014.

“The cruise industry is truly a global and dynamic industry,” said Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Acting CEO Cindy D’Aoust. Cindy said the cruise sector has enjoyed progressive growth over the last 30 years, driven initially by demand from North America, which expanded to Europe, Australia and now Asia.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Principal Corporate Communications Officer Hajj Masemo said going by the current trends, this year’s arrivals look promising.

"So far, this could be the best year as we seek to re-position ourselves as a preferred cruise destination in the Western rim of the Indian Ocean,’’ Masemo said. The first ship which sailed into Mombasa harbour was MS Hamburg, a German cruise liner which brought in over 800 passengers and crew in January, 2015. MS Nautica was to follow in March with another 900 passengers and crew before it returned on November 13 with more than 1000 passengers and crew. The latest ship was the MS Insignia which brought 1,034 passengers and crew.

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