MOMBASA – A vessel carrying 2,500 passengers and 1,000 crew members has docked at the port of Mombasa, the Kenya Ports Authority has announced. Among the crew members are 16 Kenyans.
In a statement Saturday, KPA said the 294 metre-long MSC Poesia, a luxury cruise liner from the Mediterranean Shipping Company, is one of the biggest cruise vessels to have docked at the port, coming barely a month since they hosted another luxury liner, Norwegian Dawn.
MSC Poesia is on a world tour and its arrival brings to four the number of such vessels that have docked in Kenya since November last year.
She departed Genoa, Italy, early last month and was scheduled to travel west of the Mediterranean and South along the West Coast of Africa, sail to the Cape of Good Hope and North along the African East Coast to the north and then to the Kenyan coast.
So far, Kenya has posted 8,500 tourist arrivals since the commencement of cruise season in the last three months, the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife said.
Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Dr. Alfred Mutua, who led a team of government officials and stakeholders in welcoming the visitors, said cruise ship tourism plays a pivotal role in boosting the economy of the coastal nations, and Kenya is no exception.
With its stunning coastline along the Indian Ocean, Mutua said, Kenya has recognized the potential of cruise ship tourism as a catalyst for economic growth.
Mutua said Kenya’s potential for cruise tourism is huge and the newly refurbished cruise terminal at the port of Mombasa stands as a testimony to the country’s determination to improve infrastructure as it positions Mombasa as a premier destination for cruise tourism.
In recent years, the Kenyan government has taken strategic measures to harness the benefits of the cruise ship industry, aiming to enhance the country’s global appeal and create sustainable development opportunities.
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.
The CS said with the growth of cruise ship tourism, many jobs are opening up and Kenyans stand a big chance of snapping up such opportunities considering the high levels of training in the hospitality industry.
The Mombasa County Cruise Ship Program, an initiative funded by the National Government Affirmative Action Fund in partnership with Kenya Maritime Authority, Bandari Maritime Academy/Womesa and other partners in the blue economy Industry, sponsors selected candidates for the Standard Training Certification and Watch keeping (STCW) mandatory course.
It is an initiative that seeks to sensitize youths in the Coast region on the various opportunities available on the cruise ship industry.
The ministry said the cruise company MSC cruisers has employed 2,500 Kenyans, who work in various ships all over the world. Kenyans are hired when they apply online or respond to local advertisements.
“You do not need to know anyone to get a job. All you need is to be competitive and pass the various interviews by the company,” Mutua said.
He added that the influx of tourists stimulates various sectors, including hospitality, transportation, and retail, with the ripple effect providing employment opportunities and fostering entrepreneurship.