February 12, 2020
The new world-class cruise ship terminal is ready to be commissioned, with the first ship expected to dock tomorrow (13 February 2020) ferrying high-end tourists.
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) confirmed arrival of the first cruise ship during peak season after vigorous efforts geared towards marketing of Mombasa as a cruise vessel destination.
KPA chairman Joseph Kibwana said *MV Marco Polo* will be the first ship to call at the terminal.
The new facility includes duty free shops, restaurants, conference facilities and offices for key stakeholders in the industry.
The KPA Chairperson during an interview with a local publication added that the facility has been built to international standards and will be leveraged to encourage cruise tourism to this region of the Indian Ocean.
Kenya is lobbying to join cruise vessel circuits which include Seychelles, Mauritius, Zanzibar and South Africa through a partnership arrangement.
“We can become a very interesting destination for cruise ships. The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife is working towards developing a cruise ship calendar. We have been to Miami to market Mombasa as a cruise ship destination,” Mr Kibwana said.
*MV Marco Polo’s* current cruise itinerary is 78 days. The itinerary began January 5 and terminates March 23. It will dock in Mombasa arriving from Zanzibar on 13 February and depart the following day for Seychelles.
Kenya is looking to strengthen its position in cruise tourism sector to complement air connectivity – a major driver for growth of international arrivals.
The cruise terminal is expected to directly create 300 jobs, and boost local industries such as the transport sector, hotels, food providers and curio sellers.
Bwanaheri Omar Lali, Inchcape Shipping Services operations manager, said the facility will position Kenya as a unique passenger destination.
Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has encouraged tour operators to start planning safaris for the cruise liner. “We have agreed with Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) who are partners to put up a marketing strategy and coordinate but Kenya will take the lead to ensure all our neighbours improve their facilities,” Mr Balala said.