The tourism sector on Sunday received a big boost after a luxurious cruise ship docked at the Mombasa port with 792 visitors.
MS Albatros, the first cruise ship to dock at the port this season, called at the port at 6 am with 446 passengers and 346 crew members.
The cruise ship, operated by Germany-based travel agency Phoenix Reisen, arrived from Zanzibar and will depart to Seychelles on Monday.
According to Bwanaheri Omar, the operations manager of Inchcape Shipping Agency that is contracted to bring the cruise ship, two more cruise ships are expected in the country by end of the year.
“We have more ships coming before December. These tourists are coming to sample what Kenyan tourism has to offer. We are calling on the government to expedite contraction of the cruise ship terminal so that tourists can have somewhere to rest upon arrival,” said Bwanaheri.
Many of the tourists aboard the cruise ship are from Germany, Australia, South Africa, Thailand, Switzerland, Canada, Croatia, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland and Russia.
Upon arrival, some of the tourists went straight to watch game at the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Tsavo National Park, Simba Hills and while others sampled Mombasa city tourist attractions.
“We are happy to arrive in Kenya for the first time and it’s a pleasure to have a game drive experience. We love Kenya because Kenya is a wonderful country,” said Kathrin Wegemann, a German tourist among those who arrived.
Catherine Vinman, another tourist from Germany, praised Kenya’s tourism products, including hotels and resorts saying the sunny beaches offer a different experience.
She is part of the tourists who went to Tsavo National Park.
Kenya Ports Authority Managing Director Daniel Manduku, through a statement sent to newsrooms, said the arrival of the tourists is encouraging.
In October, 2017, the luxury cruise ship cancelled its scheduled voyage to Mombasa for unknown reasons, but sector players attributed the decision to the heated political atmosphere.
Usually, the cruise tourism season begins in November and ends in March.
The sector is gearing for arrival of unprecedented number of tourists because of the increased number of direct international airlines landing at the coastal city.