Chair of the Cruise Indian Ocean Association (CIOA), Catherine Mturi-Wairi, who is also Kenya Ports Authority’s (KPA) Managing Director, urged member countries to exploit the continent’s potential in the cruise tourism sector.
Countries represented were Kenya, Seychelles, South Africa, Mauritius, Uganda, Zambia, Namibia and Sudan.
“It will be appreciated that cruise shipping is one of the fastest growing sectors of the tourism industry…The industry shows no signs of slowing down, with 24 million passengers having sailed in 2016 globally, a dramatic increase from 15 million 10 years earlier,” she said through Bernard Osero, KPA spokesman.
Mturi-Wairi pointed out that eastern, southern Africa and the Indian Ocean islands provided a suitable alternative to the traditional cruise circuits and that, if the sector was well harnessed, it could propel regional economies.
To do this and grow the sector she called on port authorities, major stakeholders and their partners to collaborate.
Currently under development by the KPA is a cruise terminal at the Mombasa port, with the cost sitting at Sh100 million (€8.5 million).
At the Cruise Indian Ocean Association forum, Mturi-Wairi told delegates: “My view is that our region represents an important niche for cruise development. The popularity of the safari/cruise package available in the region is growing rapidly.”