Tourism boom as cruise ship docks at Mombasa port
The tourism sector is expecting an upsurge during the festive season and this has been boosted when a cruise ship docked at the port of Mombasa on Thursday, December 21.
The ship, MS Silver Spirit, is reported to be ferrying 837 passengers and is en route from Victoria, Seychelles to Cape Town, South Africa.
According to the ship’s tracker report on Seascanner, MS Silver Spirit docked at the Mombasa port at 8am on Thursday morning. It is expected to dock for 14 hours, setting sail for the Comoros Islands at 10pm.
The ship, that can ferry up to 540 passengers who are taken care of by close to 400 crew members, contains tourists from the United Kingdom, Germany and The Netherlands among other nations.
During the duration of their stay in the country, they are expected to tour Fort Jesus, Mombasa’s Old Town region and the Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve among other tourists sites around the coastal city.
This is expected to raise the projected increase of local and foreign tourists in the country in what is traditionally a busy period of festivities over the Christmas holidays and New Year’s celebrations.
It also comes in the wake of the tourism sector having suffered a slump due to the heightened political tensions in the country occasioned by the extended electioneering period.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said in October that the slump had lowered the projected tourism estimates for the year.
“We expected 2017 to have an almost 20% increase. We got some cancellations after August, so the month of September where it is supposed to be a high season particularly for the wildebeests migration, we saw some cancellations,” he said.
Hoteliers, tourism agents and small scale traders at the coastal region had also decried the fact that the rate of cancellations and delayed bookings from local and foreign tourists had risen.
“Mostly, local tourists have cancelled or delayed their bookings,” said one tourist agent, with one hotelier adding, “After August, we saw cancellations of almost 70%.”
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