KENYA has lost millions of dollars after a cruise ship, which was anchored in the Port of Mombasa, changed its course and headed to Tanzania due to political tension affecting some parts of the country.
The ship will now anchor in the Ports of Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, carrying over 800 international tourists.
Stakeholders in the tourism industry and politicians have increasingly pressured President William Ruto and the leader of the Azimio, Mr Raila Odinga, to resolve their differences in order to avoid economic losses like this.
The guests traveling on the luxury ship MV Seabourn Sojourn from Mahe Seychelles will spend six days in Tanzania before heading to South Africa.
According to an official at the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Mr Hajj Masemo, the guests were visiting the Coastal area for three days before continuing their journey to Zanzibar.
“They planned to go to Zanzibar, but Dar es Salaam was not in their plans. But because of the political tension in the country, they are going to Dar es Salaam,” he said.
Based on KPA research, one visitor arriving by ship is estimated to spend about $200 (Sh29,000) per day. Therefore, for three days, that amounts to $600 (Sh87,000). In total, 800 visitors were expected to spend approximately Sh69.6 million.
“If you include the crew of the ship, it is a large amount of money that they would spend while in the country,” said Mr Masemo.
The chairman of the hotel staff union in the country, Mr Sam Ikwaye, urged politicians to seek a peace agreement.
The Parliamentary Committee on Tourism and Wildlife, led by Mr Kareke Mbiuki, who visited the parking area for tourist transport ships in the Port of Mombasa, said that the action of the ship to change course would affect the reviving tourism industry.
“We are asking President Ruto and Mr Odinga to sit down so we can end this political crisis because it is affecting tourism. Nothing is unsolvable. We have received four ships since November last year, and stakeholders were hopeful because another ship was expected next month,” said Mr Mbiuki.
The ship, which started its journey in January from Miami, Florida, is traveling for 140 days, anchoring in 140 ports in 27 countries. It will end its journey on May 27 in Barcelona, Spain.