Lamu, Kenya – The historic arrival of the first cruise ship in Lamu’s Shela area has sparked a surge of optimism for the future of cruise tourism in the region. The Kenya Ports Authority’s General Manager, Vincent Sidai, expressed his confidence in the port’s ability to draw in international tourists and investments.
According to Kenya News Agency, the docking of the cruise ship MV SH DIANA in Lamu is seen as a turning point for the local tourism industry. The Kenya Ports Authority reports that this event has been made possible by heightened security measures and infrastructure improvements, setting the stage for Lamu to become a preferred destination for cruise tourists.
General Manager Sidai stated in an interview with Kenya News Agency in Lamu, “We expect more ships to dock at the Port of Lamu, with three additional cruise ships scheduled later this year.” The arrival of MV SH DIANA not only reflects the effectiveness of ongoing marketing strategies for the port and county but also represents the burgeoning trust and interest in Lamu as a secure and accessible location.
Lamu Port’s Managing Director Captain William Ruto highlighted last month that the Port is actively courting shipping lines and planning enhancements specifically catering to the cruise ship sector. These plans include the allocation of a dedicated berth for cruise ships and the development of additional berths in partnership with private stakeholders.
With 45 ships having called at Lamu Port since its commissioning, local authorities are focusing on improving necessary infrastructure such as the Lamu jetties to support the anticipated growth of the cruise tourism sector.
Lamu County Executive for Tourism, Aisha Miraj, added to the positive narrative by lauding the county’s entry into cruise tourism, which complements its status as a World Heritage Site. Miraj outlined ongoing efforts to bolster terrestrial tourism, including the Mokowe Animal Orphanage, Dodori National Reserve, and the Kiunga Water Reserve, with significant financial backing and coordination with the Kenya Wildlife Services.
The initial cruise ship arrival brought 57 tourists, but expectations are set high for subsequent visits to draw even larger numbers. In anticipation of this growth, the municipality is prioritizing the upkeep of Lamu’s Old Town, ensuring that its status as a World Heritage Site remains pristine and inviting for guests.
Lamu Governor Issa Timamy underscored the importance of this milestone, viewing it as a critical move towards realizing Lamu’s potential as a leading cruise tourism hub, with extensive economic advantages for the county on the horizon.