Kenya’s tourism sector experienced a significant upswing as the port of Mombasa welcomed a cruise ship carrying 2,500 tourists on the morning of February 3, 2024.
In a statement, Alfred Mutua, the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, extended a warm welcome to the visitors, highlighting that the vessel, MSC Poesia, is on a global tour. The Kenya Ports Authority noted that MSC Poesia is among the largest cruise vessels ever to dock at the Port of Mombasa.
“To enhance Cruise Tourism, KPA has invested in necessary infrastructure, including a state-of-the-art cruise terminal, solidifying Kenya’s status as a hub for both cargo operations and cruise tourism in Africa,” mentioned KPA in a statement.
CS Mutua disclosed that the cruise ship had 1000 crew members, including 16 Kenyans who secured their positions through online applications. Dr. Mutua underscored the growing opportunities in cruise ship tourism, emphasizing that Kenyans have a significant chance to secure such job opportunities.
“To get a job, you don’t need to know anyone. All you need is to be competitive and pass the various interviews by the company,” said the CS. According to Mutua, MSC Cruisers, the cruise company, has employed 2,500 Kenyans working on various ships globally.
MSC Poesia’s arrival marks the fourth such vessel to dock in Kenya since November last year. Kenya has recorded 8500 tourist arrivals since the beginning of the cruise season in the last three months.
MSC Poesia’s arrival in Mombasa comes just a month after another luxury liner, Norwegian Dawn, berthed at the Kenyan coast on January 14, 2024, carrying 2,300 passengers and 1,100 crew members.
Captain William Ruto, the Managing Director of KPA, piloted the Norwegian vessel to berth number one, reaffirming the Authority’s commitment to cruise tourism through infrastructure investments to position the Port of Mombasa as a cruise tourism hub.
“This is just the beginning; we expect more vessels to call at the port. As KPA management and board, we have put up infrastructure to support cruise tourism. I want to assure all cruise lines that Port Mombasa is safe,” stated Captain William Ruto.
CS Mutua emphasized that cruise ship tourism plays a pivotal role in boosting the economy of coastal nations. “With its stunning coastline along the Indian Ocean, Kenya has recognized the potential of cruise ship tourism as a catalyst for economic growth,” he said.
The port of Mombasa has the capacity to attract 140,000 passengers per year. In 2019, the global cruise industry welcomed nearly 30 million passengers, creating jobs for 1.8 million people.
On January 24, 2024, Kenya received a major boost as it was elected to chair the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) committee on Tourism and Competitiveness. CS Mutua highlighted that this win was a testament to Kenya’s leadership capabilities and positions the country in decision-making roles concerning global tourism matters.
“This vote demonstrates the confidence that UNWTO member states have in Kenya’s leadership and ability to steer the organization’s agenda on tourism competitiveness,” noted CS Mutua.