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Celebrations as Cruise ship filled with 642 tourists docks at Mombasa

Cabinet secretary for Tourism, Najib Balala was at hand to welcome holidaymakers and expressed delight at their arrival.

MS Nautica docked at Mombasa Port at exactly 6.30 am with 1034 visitors on board; 640 tourists and 394 crew from Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI).

MS Nautica  which is owned and operated by Oceania Cruises will depart in the evening after excursions to Haller Park, Amboseli National Park, Shimba Hills and Mombasa City.

Tourism which has been on a slow decline battered by poll jittery is slowly showing signs of recovery after the end of a long electioneering period.

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The hot political temperature witnessed in the country since mid this year had left the coastal economy exposed.

Key sectors of the economy in  Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu counties have been negatively affected especially in the hospitality industry, car importation and investor confidence at the Coast.

Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) cried fowl  that the sector had lost as much as Sh1.5 billion ($14m) through cancellations in two months alone.

As, a result, MS Albatros, a luxury cruise ship which had been anticipated to arrive at the port of Mombas on November 3 (Friday) cancelled its scheduled voyage dealing a heavy blow to Kenya’s struggling tourism sector more so Cruise tourism.

All that however seem to have passed at least for now if the current signs are anything to go by.

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Despite a long electioneering period, Tourism numbers still grew, Moi International Airport Mombasa (MIAM), for instance received 66,699 visitors, compared to 65,600 in 2016, 1.7% growth.

During the same period, arrivals through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport  grew by 11.1% to record 655,569 compared to 589,958 in 2016.

Total international arrivals in just nine months from January to September this year by both  air and sea closed at 723,174 compared to 657,438 in 2016, illustrating a growth of 10.0%

Veronica Okoth, Director Macroeconomics at the Vision 2030 Secretariat best summarized Kenya’s situation during a recent breakfast meeting organized by Startmore Business School in conjunction with Business Advocacy Fund.

"Kenya's economy is the most resilient in Africa, despite the cyclic political uncertainty, boosted by a strong private sector."  She said.

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