NAIROBI, June 26 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is promoting beach tourism along the Indian Ocean shores, a senior government said on Wednesday.
Najib Balala, cabinet secretary, ministry of tourism and wildlife told journalists in Nairobi that the Mombasa to Nairobi railway line has reduced the cost of travel to the port of Mombasa.
"Since the completion of the SGR, we have seen a surge of local and international tourists visiting the coastal beach of Mombasa," Balala said during the launch of the partnership between Express Travel Group and Travel Leaders Group to form Travel Leaders Kenya.
Balala revealed that the SGR has increased the travel options for visitors seeking to tour the coastal region.
"Previously tourists had to contend with high cost of air travel or the unreliable road transport network," he added.
The 480 km SGR line built by Chinese from Nairobi to Mombasa was launched in 2017 while the construction of the 120 km Nairobi to Naivasha section which is also funded by the Chinese is almost complete.
Balala said that once the SGR is complete, it will open up the western tourism circuit which is largely unexploited due to high cost of transport and lack of public awareness of the rich cultural heritage in the region.
"Through the use of SGR, we hope to expand the tourism sector by making all parts of the country accessible to both domestic and foreign tourists," he added.
The government official noted that Kenya's main tourism products are the beach tourism and the safari product which largely attract high-end clientele.