Kenya Coast hoteliers have expressed gratitude on the opening of Port of Lamu, aimed at boosting logistics, travel and tourism industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hospitality players are hopeful that the Lamu Port will catapult Kenya Coast tourism business giving it a much-needed lift to the sector’s fortunes. The stakeholders expect that the modern facility will position Kenya as a passenger destination through the sea tourism and boost the sector.

“The Port of Lamu is set to position the coastal cities as passenger destinations through the sea tourism and boost the sector. The operationalization of Lamu port will transform regional tourism and hospitality activities through increased trade, integration and connectivity,” stated Hasnain Noorani, Chair, Kenya Coast Hoteliers working Group.

He further noted that Kenya’s second commercial seaport will facilitate the docking of cruise ships, thereby stimulating the growth of regional tourism sector.

“The project will also grow the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by at least 3 %. This will help boost tourism, trade and local livelihood along the coast and beyond,” My. Hasnain added.

“It is now time for Kenya to start marketing campaigns for global cruise conventions to increase the number of international tourists arriving by sea. Cruise tourism, is a lucrative market for Kenya since visitors arriving by sea are in most cases high-end merrymakers,” said Victor Shitakha, Chairman, Kenya Coast Tourism Association.

In 2020, the Port of Mombasa was voted Africa’s leading cruise facility for the second-year running by the World Travel Awards.

“Kenya coast is a preferred destination for cruise holidaymakers since after arrival at the port, it takes them a short time to head to national parks for game drives,” added Mr. Shitakha

The Port of Lamu is expected to give tourism a huge boost as more cruise ships dock at the port. According to tourism stakeholders, Kenya coast is increasingly becoming attractive to cruise ships, recalling MS Nautica operated by Oceania Cruises arrived at the port of Mombasa in December 2019, with about 700 visitors.

Cruise tourists will enjoy Lamu Port facilities like those offered at international airports.

“The cruise ship is good for the hospitality business. We will get many international tourists and attract big ships. We should create awareness on cruise ship tourism so that Kenyans can tap into that business,” concluded Mr. Noorani