Kenya:Agency bets on cruise boat loans to grow tours

The Tourism Finance Corporation is set to offer loans to investors to introduce cruise boat services to locals and tourists in Mombasa County.

The boats would enable residents and tourists in Mombasa County to travel to other neighbouring counties like Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu.

The TFC chief executive officer Jonah Orumoi says the introduction of cruise boats would boost tourism as a new product.

“Travelling by sea is an adventure in itself. This is part of the diversification of products in Mombasa to avert over-reliance on beaches,” he said in an interview.

The boats will carry between 50 and 150 passengers, he said.

This financial year, the lender would offer loans of close to Sh800 million to tourism investors introducing innovative products, including this class of boats and floating restaurants, the official said.

The corporation, he added, asked for Sh2.5 billion allocation from the National Treasury in 2017/18 to offer more loans for new products.

He said the cruise boats were among the products the corporation was supporting in efforts to revive the sector that is slowly emerging from years of difficulty, partly due to terrorist attacks that triggered a slew of travel advisories by key source markets.

Tourism earnings hit Sh84.6 billion in 2015 when the country recorded 1.18 million visitor arrivals, revealing the amount of work Kenya has to meet the almost pyschological target of three million visitors.

“Just like cruise ships which cruise to Mombasa from other parts of the world, we want to have cruise boats which can ferry tourists from one coastal town to another,” he added.

Some of the routes will be from Mombasa island to Diani in the South Coast and from the island to Mkomani and from Tudor to Mishomoroni.

For long journeys by sea, some cruise boats will be transporting passengers from Mombasa to Kilifi, Watamu, Malindi and Mambrui in Kilifi County and Tana River and Lamu archipelago.

Apart from the cruise boats venture, Mr Orumoi said the corporation would loan floating restaurants.

Last week, Mombasa County government announced that it was seeking investors to invest in sea transport in a bid to address traffic congestion on the roads.

Credit: Business Daily

Published on 6 April 2017 | 5:07 pm at Source