Africa region strategizes on reaping cruise tourism benefits
Countries in the African region have underscored the need to embrace an integrated approach towards marketing and promotion of cruise tourism to immensely gain from the sector.
The Chairperson of the Cruise Indian Ocean Association who is also the Managing Director of the Kenya Ports Authority Mrs. Catherine Mturi-Wairi, encouraged member countries to fully exploit the existing potential saying the sector could propel the regional economies.
Speaking during the opening of the Cruise Tourism Workshop in Seychelles, Mrs. Wairi observed that the region's potential was enormous characterized by a great diversity of natural wonders on land and sea coupled with competitive ports and tourism bodies to support cruise tourism.
"It will be appreciated that Cruise shipping is one of the fastest growing sectors of the tourism industry. The industry shows no signs of slowing down, with 24 million passengers having sailed in 2016, a dramatic increase from 15 million 10 years earlier," she said.
The KPA Managing Director noted that Africa and specifically the Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands provide an excellent option to the traditional cruise circuits.
To grow the industry and offer the requisite unique experiences, the MD called for collaboration among Port Authorities, major stakeholders and their partners.
"To conclude ladies and gentlemen, my view is that our region represents an important niche for cruise development. The popularity of the safari/cruise package available in the region is growing rapidly," she added.
Cruise Indian Ocean Association was founded under the auspices of Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA), one of the regional bodies set up by the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa.
The association's key objectives include; to jointly promote and market the Eastern and Southern Africa region and South West Indian Ocean Islands; to perform liaison functions between members and cruise line stake-holders in the industry; to research, develop and maintain a statistical database on port networks and all other information pertaining to cruise tourism worldwide and to provide a forum for a unified and integrated approach to cruise tourism.
The theme of the ongoing Cruise Tourism Workshop in Seychelles is "The role of integrated tourism as a method to revive cruise tourism."
The countries represented are; Kenya, Seychelles, South Africa, Mauritius, Uganda, Zambia, Namibia and Sudan.
The workshop was attended by among others the Minister for Tourism Mauritius Hon. Kumarisingh Gaya, the PS Ministry of Tourism Seychelles Mrs. Anne La Fortune, the CEO Seychelles Port Authority Colonel Andre Ciseau, the Secretary General Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA) Ms. Nozipho Madawe, the CEO Transnet South Africa Mr. Richard Valliu, Uganda Consulate Mombasa Ambassador Katurebe Tayebwa and the Product Manager Kenya Tourism Board Mr. Fred Okeyo.