President Uhuru Kenyatta has been keen on implementing infrastructure projects across Kenya geared towards spurring the economy of the country. While some of these projects have proved a masterstroke, there are others whose significance remains a subject of debate.
In this article, WoK takes a look at one such project – the Ksh 1.3 billion cruise ship terminal at the port of Mombasa which remains idle three years after its unveiling.
The Ksh 1.3 Cruise Ship terminal
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The modern cruise ship terminal situated at the port of Mombasa was constructed by the government of Kenya in 2016 with the aim of attracting and boosting international tourism to the coastal hotels and resorts. The terminal is a three-story building and has similar facilities like any other airport. The facilities include conference facilities, duty free shops, lounges, restaurants and officials such as logistics, port health and immigration officers. Cruise tourism is currently one of the fastest growing maritime sectors in the world and if the terminal is utilized effectively, it would boost the economy of the coastal region.
While speaking to Business Daily on Tuesday 28th June 2022, Kenya Ports Authority corporate communication officer Haji Masemo said the facility was ready for use but it was affected by the Covid 19 pandemic that struck the world in 2020-.
“Our cruise ship terminal was ready but we were affected when the pandemic hit, which was first reported on a cruise ship. So, obviously, the market slowed down a bit. The Covid-19 pandemic is still a challenge. The Sea Trade Global Convention kicked off this year after a two-year break following the pandemic where industry players deliberated on the revival of the cruise sector. The business was expected to resume but due to the fresh outbreak of the virus globally, our hopes of getting cruises sailing again, especially in Africa, have been a challenge,” he explained.
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The lucrative cruise tourism business was halted in 2020 when the British registered cruise ship ‘Diamond Princess’ was reported as the first cruise ship to record a major outbreak of Covid 19. The incident saw over 3,000 passengers and crew forced to self-quarantine for over a month at Yokohama city in Japan.
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Efforts to revive the industry
According to Mr. Masemo, KPA in collaboration with the Cruise Africa Association and Kenya Tourism Board, has begun efforts to revive the sector and ensure that the facility is effectively utilized.
“We have begun marketing the terminal in conjunction with the Kenya Tourism Board. The problem is that cruise ships were taking very old people and those were vulnerable because they were adversely affected by the virus”, was quoted by Business Daily.
We are also engaging port management of eastern and southern Africa and developing the cruise ship sector to promote this region as one destination. We hope once the corona virus goes down we will go to Europe and the US with our members to trumpet our destination. Marcelle handles over 200,000 passengers. The expert will help Kenya with marketing strategy to ensure the East African nation gets ship docking in the region,” he added.
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