MOMBASA, Kenya, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's tourism marketers on Thursday welcomed 576 tourists who have arrived at the Port of Mombasa aboard cruise ship, MS Nautica, marking the first cruise ship arrival to the country this year.
Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) CEO Betty Radier said in a statement that the cruise ship arrived in the tourism resort city from Zanzibar and is scheduled to make a one day stop before it sails onward to Mahe Island in the Seychelles.
"The arrival of MS Nautica portrays the uniqueness of Mombasa as a port of call, especially considering that Mombasa is the only port in the region where disembarking passengers can get to go on safari within the short duration of their stop," Radier said.
She welcomed the arrival of the cruise ship, saying its arrival is yet another major boost to the coastal region's tourism sector even as the festive season comes to an end.
Kenyan authorities have vowed to develop and promote cruise tourism instead of relying solely on beach and safari for marketing.
Kenya is a destination with diverse and rich tourism attractions and is today a renowned tourist brand in the world market.
The East African nation's bad year for cruise tourism was 2011, when Kenya had more than 1,200 tourist arrivals by sea. The negative growth in the sector was mainly attributed to piracy across the Indian Ocean, among other factors.
During their one day stop, the tourists will visit Amboseli National Park and also tour various parts of Mombasa including the iconic Fort Jesus, a historical site in Mombasa.
The arrival of the cruise ship comes barely a fortnight after MS Silver Spirit, a luxury cruise ship with 472 passengers on board, made its maiden stop in Mombasa.
Shimba Hills National Park, Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary, Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Park as well as Amboseli National Park are among the national parks that are within easy reach of cruise ship travelers arriving in Mombasa.
Kenya's main mode of tourist arrivals, thus, remains air transport. Tourists arrive into the East African nation in particular through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in the capital and Moi International Airport (MIA) in Mombasa.
Kenya's core tourism products have been focused on beach and safari owing to the country's extended coast line of 480km and abundance of wildlife.
However, the growing competitive nature of tourism and the continuously evolving tastes and preferences of consumers, the country's promoted products have been enriched to include adventure, culture, ecotourism, sports, golf, birding and business.