Thousands of domestic and international tourists thronged various holiday destinations in Mombasa last evening to celebrate and welcome the New Year in style as security agencies maintained vigilance.
The New Year seems to have brought out people from their homes and work stations in the coastal city who flocked to different picnic spots to celebrate with family and friends.
A spot check by Kenya News Agency showed people flocking churches and entertainment spots and wishing each other a prosperous and happy New Year.
Beach goers were treated to a series of entertainment activities ranging from boat rides, camel rides and swimming among others.
The check showed that Jomo Kenyatta public beach popularly known as ‘pirates’ and the scenic Mama Ngina Drive played host to hundreds of people who have all come out to welcome 2016 and enjoy firework displays when the clock struck midnight.
Hotels and entertainment joints are doing brisk business as up-country families and regional tourists from Uganda and Rwanda have descended on the coast to relax and make merry.
Mombasa is the preferred holiday destination for many Kenyans and foreign visitors and each year it receives a record number of holiday-makers arriving to savour its white sandy beaches stretched out from the south to the north coast and tropical ambience.
Fred Kiuru the General Manager of Travelers Beach and Spa Hotel has welcomed the recent creation of a stand alone Tourism ministry headed by Najib Balala contending that the tourism industry blossomed under the stewardship of Mr. Balala in the past and expressed optimism that with his return the industry will be on an upward surge once again.
‘We hope in 2016 and beyond and with the stewardship of the new CS tourism will once again pick up and become number-one foreign exchange earner’ said Kiuru.
Director of tourism in Mt. Kenya and coordinator at Gikuyu and Mumbi Cultural Museum Ruth Njoroge Engeseni while ushering in the New Year in Mombasa prayed for national unity and integration among the diverse communities and religions in the country.
By Hussein Abdullahi