Mama Ngina Drive Park in Mombasa that is being revamped. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Waterfront tourism Kenya’s next focus after rosy earnings
The government is investing millions of shillings in rehabilitating waterfronts to attract more tourists.
The Ministry of Tourism says it plans to establish waterfronts in Mombasa, Kilifi, Nakuru and Kisumu counties.
In an interview, Tourism CS Najib Balala said Sh300 million will be used for Malindi waterfront project in Kilifi whose budget will be factored in the 2019/2020 financial year.
Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta launched a Sh460 million waterfront project at the historical Mama Ngina Drive in Mombasa. It will be completed in May.
“We now plan to focus on Kisumu and Naivasha plans, budget and design the projects. I will also visit Lake Turkana to see how we can put a resort city in Lake Turkana which will help us to spread all over the country,” he said.
The Mama Ngina project will entail the development of a public square, two gateways, a Swahili cultural centre, pigeon coops, a paved path, restaurants, modern selling points, an amphitheatre and landscaping gardens.
The ministry, Mr Balala says, will also invest Sh200 million for redevelopment of Jomo Kenyatta Public beach in Mombasa and put it to international standards.
“The revamping of Jomo Kenyatta Beach will begin in February, then Malindi waterfront in Kilifi county will also start this year. They are among the many projects we are doing across the country. They are legacy projects that the President has promised all over the country to support tourism,” the CS said.
The move is part of efforts by the government to increase its last year’s earning which have been termed as historic. In 2018, tourism earnings grew 31.2 percent to Sh157 billion, up from Sh119 billion in the previous year.
Last year’s number of international arrivals was 2,025,206, compared to 1,474,671 in 2017, an increase of 37.33 percent.
According to a report from the Ministry of Tourism stated that the number of local tourists in 2018 was 3,974,243, a 9.03 percent increase from 3,645,243 a year earlier.
Mr Balala attributed the growth to coordinated efforts between the arms of government and marketing initiatives.
“Recovery funding has also helped grow the sector,” he said, adding Kenya also benefited from the North Africa decline in tourism.
“The Arab Spring has badly affected them. Areas such as India and Thailand have their own issues [and so do] Florida and the Caribbean, with weather patterns changing. People are now moving to Africa.”