Hotel operators in the Coast have welcomed the opening of Lamu port saying it will boost tourism.
Kenya Coast Hoteliers working Group chairman Hasnain Noorani said the port will position Kenya as a passenger destination.
He added that trade, integration and connectivity would improve.
“Kenya’s second commercial seaport will facilitate the docking of cruise ships, thus stimulating the growth of tourism. It will also grow the country’s GDP by at least three per cent,” he said yesterday.
Kenya Coast Tourist Association chief executive Julius Owino told the Daily Nation that many infrastructural projects will come with the port, including a standard gauge railway.
“The port will attract investments in Lamu. This means hospitality and tourism will not be left behind. The standard of services will naturally improve too,” Mr Owino said.
World Travel Awards
Kenya Coast Tourism Association chairman Victor Shitakha said every Kenyan should support the growth of the port.
“Kenya should begin marketing campaigns for international cruise conventions to increase the number of tourists arriving by sea. Cruise tourism is a lucrative market since visitors arriving by sea are in most cases high-end merrymakers,” Mr Shitakha said.
Mombasa was in 2020 voted Africa’s leading cruise port by the World Travel Awards for the second year running.
“The Kenyan coast is a preferred destination for cruise holidaymakers. It takes them a short time to head to national parks for game drives as soon as they arrive,” Mr Shitakha added.
According to tourism players, the Kenyan coast is increasingly becoming attractive to cruise ships.
Rejuvenate the economy
Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) CEO Sam Ikwaye said tourism thrives when there is movement of people.
He said the Lamu port would rejuvenate the economy of the Coast.
“Port activities in Mombasa have been affected by the opening of the SGR and moving critical services to Nairobi and Naivasha,” Dr Ikwaye said, adding that many restaurants and related businesses in the town centre have since shut.
He said tourism and the new port would help reduce poverty and advance socio-economic development in the Coast.
Kenya Tourism Federation chairman Mohamed Hersi lauded the Lamu port project as a long term investment.
“We are delighted and urge the government to ensure locals benefit from the port,” Mr Hersi said.
He asked the government to make public the list of those employed and trained. Mr Hersi said the government should establish a cruise terminal at Lamu port.