A modern cruise ship terminal is set to become operational at Mombasa port by October, officials have said, raising hopes for tourism sector stakeholders as sea-based travel picks up globally.
The modernisation of an old building at the port’s Berth 1, which began last December, is 70 per cent complete, port officials told the Business Daily.
“If things go according to plan we expect the government to commission the first ever cruise ship terminal before October this year,” said project coordinator Abdullahi Omollo.
The terminal will have an arrival and departure areas for passengers. The facility will also have a lounge, an immigration office, reception counters, restaurants and souvenir shops.
“Cruise tourists will enjoy facilities just like those offered at international airports for them to feel comfortable when arriving in the country or when departing for other destinations,” Mr Omollo said.
He said the world class terminal will attract more cruise liners to Mombasa and boost tourism.
“We anticipate more tourists to travel to Mombasa by luxury ships for safari,” he said. This would contribute to economic growth, job creation and higher incomes for businesses that depend on tourism.
Construction of the terminal comes at a time when a United States liner, Princess Cruises, is considering making Mombasa its home port by 2019.
Princess Cruises is based in Santa Clarita, California, and incorporated in Bermuda.
Cruise tourists have shored up numbers and boosted the economy since they visit national parks such as Maasai Mara, Tsavo, Amboseli and Shimba Hills, said Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala.
“Although tourists who arrive by sea spend shorter time in the country, majority of them later come back for longer holidays thereby boosting the economy,” he said. Last year the World Travel Awards voted Mombasa Africa’s leading cruise port for the second-year running.