The decline of Somali pirate activity could bring ship-bound tourism back to Africa's east coast, but Kenya and its neighbors need to prepare for fickle cruise lines and changing tastes.
The recent arrival at the Port of Mombasa by a cruise ship MV Nautica has left players in the tourism sector upbeat about the future prospects of the industry amid insecurity issues.
Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association chair Mohamed Hersi yesterday told the Star that the move is an indication that Kenya is slowly returning to its glory as a tourist hub.
“The industry can now breathe a sigh of relief because cruise ships are an indication that Kenya’s war to combat piracy and terrorism is yielding fruits,” he said.
MV Nautica, with about 654 tourists from Britain and 401 crew members, made a call at the port en route to Zanzibar. Another cruise ship, MV Deutschland from Germany, with 424 passengers and 274 crew members is scheduled for Mombasa today.Two others are expected at the port between January 18 and 26.
Pollman’s Tours managing director Khalid Shapi said tourists aboard cruise ships are the highest spenders, with each using a minimum of USD 500 on daily expenditure.
He said this kind of spending would greatly boost the region’s economy. Head of tourist police unit at the coast Wilberforce Sicharani attributed the visits to growing calm in the Indian Ocean.