By Johnson Chengo
Kenya received another luxurious cruise ship with 1,500 passengers and crew on board that docked at the port of Mombasa in the wee hours of 2am.
About 800 passengers disembarked from the ship MV Artania, for excursions with some heading to Masai Mara, Tsavo and others opting to visit tourist sites within Mombasa.
This is the second vessel to dock at the port this year after the MV World Odessy with 795 passengers and crew docked at the port for the second time on January 26.
The ship was carrying 1,032 passengers, mostly Germans and 500 crew from 30 different nations.
Addressing the media, KPA general manager corporate services Edward Kamau said that the cruise tourism season had picked up well for Kenya.
“We have so far received four vessels since the season began last November. We expect to receive another vessel before the season ends in April,” said Kamau.
“This is great for us because of the effect that cruise tourism has in our economy,” he added.
Kamau said that this milestone had been achieved through collaboration between KPA, the Kenya Tourism Board and other government agencies together with different private players who work to ensure that cruise tourism is adequately and effectively marketed.
“Destination tourism is very important and KPA is working closely with KTB and other stakeholders to make sure that these vessels are well received and have an enjoyable stay here,” Kamau said.
The captain of the vessel Aleskey Zinkovskyi said that it was the first time MV Artania is calling to port at the port of Mombasa.
“We are happy with the scenery and we shall put Kenya in our program in the next circuit,” he said.
The vessel had a passenger exchange in Mauritius, then headed to Madagascar before coming to Mombasa.
“It is necessary for more cruise ships to come to Kenya to grow the industry and we wish you all the best in this aspect,” the captain added.
He added that Kenya has a very nice opportunity with a good terminal too.
The vessel left the port at 9pm heading down south to Zanzibar, then Mozambique before heading to South Africa ports.
It is expected to have a passenger exchange stop in Cape Town port on February 26 then head to the Atlantic course through West Africa all the way up to Europe to close the circuit in Marseille, France on April 7.
Mombasa received the first cruise ship since 2018, the MV World Odyssey, with about 800 tourists that docked at the port of Mombasa towards the end of November.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Peninnah Malonza was at the port to receive the tourists accompanied by KTB and KPA officials.
The sector had dwindled since 2018 and the covid-19 pandemic in 2020 made it even worse. The sector has been on a rising trajectory making headways to recover.
Globally, there are over 60 ocean cruise lines operating 430 ships.
In 2019, the cruise ships are said to have brought in 27 billion dollars in revenue, but this drastically reduced due to the onset of the covid-19.
The industry has been on a recovery trajectory with 90 per cent of cruise ships back in service with projections expected to reach 18 billion dollars.
The number of passengers has been growing too and is expected to hit 25 millions.