Balala lauds development of cruise ship terminal
Mombasa – December 16, 2016
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has commended Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) for initiating the construction of the cruise ship terminal at the Port of Mombasa.
The Cabinet Secretary said the cruise ship terminal to be developed at a cost of Kshs. 350 million was a major boost to Kenya's tourism sector as it will encourage the number of holiday makers visiting the country. Trademark East Africa (TMEA) is a development partner, with a contribution of Ksh.100 million of the total budget.Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala delivers his speech during the launch of the development of the cruise ship terminal.
Speaking at the KPA headquarters on Friday during the launch of the development of the terminal, Balala said the facility will be a game changer in the tourism sector.
"The construction of the terminal will allow for an increased volume of cruise ships to arrive at the port, turning the Port of Mombasa into the main tourist destination in East and Central Africa," he said.
Balala said the development of the terminal was necessary since it will be the tourists' first point of interaction with the country.
"We want to have entertainment by dance troupes thus supporting local economy, have a shopping area and introduce guests to local cultures and cuisines before they proceed to the mainland or other parts of the country," he added.
Speaking during the event, KPA Managing Director Mrs. Catherine Mturi-Wairi, expressed delight saying this was a significant milestone for the Port of Mombasa and for Kenya as a country.
"For us and the tourism sector this is a perfect Christmas gift. The launch of the development of this cruise terminal comes at a time when the Port is getting back on the international cruise itinerary as witnessed by the increased number of cruise vessel calls in the last two years," said the managing director.
Tourism CS Najib Balala flanked by Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, KPA Managing Director Catherine Mturi-Wairi and TMEA Director General David Stanton unveiling the commemorative plaque for the cruise terminal.
She informed the meeting that last season the port received 10 vessels with over 6,000 tourists and this season already two vessels have called at the port with more expected.
"Ten years ago, our port attracted over 40,000 cruise tourists per year. Upon completion of this terminal, we expect the numbers to grow significantly since security in the region has greatly improved," the MD added.
On his part TMEA Director General, David Stanton cited tourism as being critical to the country's economy saying it had the potential to impact a large number of the poor and women, directly and indirectly representing over 500,000 jobs.
"Tourism currently contributes 10.5% to the Country's GDP and is projected to grow at 5% per annum up to the year 2025. We are excited by the growth of the sector and its enormous potential. This fits well with TMEA vision of improved prosperity through creation of sustainable jobs," he said.
KPA choir entertains guests during the ceremony.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho who was also present acknowledged the initiative saying his government fully supports the project.
"We must continue to encourage meaningful engagements and partnerships for the promotion of tourism to be realized," said the Governor.
He said the County Government of Mombasa would support the initiative by providing complementing infrastructure.
"We are more than willing to do everything possible to create jobs in the tourism industry," Joho added.
Tourism Principal Secretary Mrs. Fatuma Hirsi, Kenya Tourism Board CEO Ms. Betty Radier and Kenya Coast Tourism Association Chairman Mr Mohammed Hersi were among those who attended the colorful ceremony.