Ports agree on plans to boost cruise tourism

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African ports have adopted several recommendations aimed at boosting cruise tourism in the continent, among them modernising terminals. The ports will also pursue an integrated approach towards marketing and promotion of cruise tourism so as to boost regional economies.

Speaking during Cruise Tourism Workshop in Seychelles, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director Catherine Mturi, who is also the Chairperson of the Cruise Indian Ocean Association, said cruise tourism remain largely unexploited and member states could gain a lot from the sector.

Mturi observed that KPA was leading the pack in modernising its terminal so as to increase the number of cruise vessels calling at the port of Mombasa. Other recommendations reached during the meeting include investing more resources on developing cruise terminals.

Cruise ships calling at the Mombasa Port currently use the cargo terminal. The new facility will be the first terminal customised for the luxury vessels.

The Sh350 million terminal is being constructed under joint funding by the government and Trade Mark East Africa and is expected to be complete by September this year. Mturi said the region’s potential Agenda Event Bandung was enormous characterised by a great diversity of natural wonders on land and sea, coupled with competitive ports and tourism bodies to support cruise tourism.

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“It will be appreciated that Cruise shipping is one of the fastest growing sectors of the tourism industry. The industry shows no signs of slowing down, with 24 million passengers having sailed in 2016, a dramatic increase from 15 million 10 years earlier,” she said.

She said the continent offers unique experiences that gives the member countries an edge over the rest of the world. “My view is that our region represents an important niche for cruise development.

The popularity of the safari/cruise package available in the region is growing rapidly,” she added. The port of Mombasa is a member of the Cruise Indian Ocean Association which aims at jointly promoting and marketing the cruise tourism in the region.

The countries represented are at the meeting were; Kenya, Seychelles, South Africa, Mauritius, Uganda, Zambia, Namibia and Sudan. The workshop was also attended by, among others, the Minister for Tourism, Mauritius Kumarisingh Gaya, Product Manager, Kenya Tourism Board Fred Okeyo and Principal Secretary, Ministry of Tourism Seychelles Anne La Fortune.

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