By: MATHIAS RINGA
The tourism sector received a major boost Thursday when a luxury cruise ship docked at the port of Mombasa with more than 1,000 tourists and crew.
MS Nautica, which is operated by Oceania Cruises, arrived in Mombasa for the second time this year from Seychelles with 684 passengers and 386 crew members.
The ship’s arrival pushed the number of cruise tourists this year to more than 1,800 up from 900 in 2014.
The majority of the holidaymakers were from the US while others came from UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Australia, Poland Netherlands, Hong Kong and Thailand.
Others were from South Africa, Portugal, Norway, Canada, Brazil, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland.
Upon arrival, some tourists flew over to the world famous Maasai Mara reserve for game drives while others travelled to Amboseli and Tsavo East and West national parks.
Other wildlife lovers went to Shimba Hills Game Reserve and Mwalughanje Elephant Sanctuary while some toured Mombasa town and Bombolulu workshop cultural centre.
A couple from the US, Mary Williamson and her husband George said they were excited to be in Mombasa for a tour of the port city.
“We were looking forward to visiting Mombasa so that we could tour the town as well as visit the cultural and historical sites,” Mrs Williamson said.
“We are planning to come back for a long holiday so that we can sample the tourist facilities and relaxation on the alluring beaches,” she added.
DREAM COME TRUE
A German tourist Jan Haul from Hamburg said he was delighted to be Mombasa for the first time.
“April next year, I will come with my nephew for a one-week holiday specifically to celebrate Easter here in Mombasa,” Mr Haul said.
A couple from California, Landa Parisi and Sami Salem said their visit to Mombasa for the first time was a dream come true as they had longed to tour the coastal town.
On Thursday, Kenya Tourism Board Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa said the arrival of the cruise ship was a major boost to cruise tourism in the country.
He noted that the US and UK governments’ lift of travel advisories against Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi counties had lifted tourism in the region.
The KTB boss said cruise holidaymakers were of great benefit to the sector since they go on safari as well as visit historical, cultural and handicraft community projects.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION