Chinese tourists aboard cruise ship celebrate upcoming Spring Festival in Kenya

Updated: February 5, 2024 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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MOMBASA, Kenya, Feb.4 (Xinhua) -- As part of Chinese New Year festivities, 200 Chinese tourists aboard a luxury cruise liner that docked in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa on Saturday, visited the east African nation's scenic attractions, including sandy beaches and wildlife sanctuaries.

The 2024 Spring Festival, or the Chinese New Year, will fall on Feb. 10, kicking off the Year of the Dragon.

Chu Hongge, a Chinese technology entrepreneur, said she was delighted to celebrate the Chinese New Year in an African country, hailing the warmth and hospitality of local people.

Chu and her peers toured Kenya's Wasini Island and Tsavo East National Park to sample the beauty of iconic wildlife and coastal beaches.

"This is my first time visiting Africa. I love African people," Chu told Xinhua during an interview, adding that she enjoyed merry-making aboard the cruise ship.

Alfred Mutua, Kenya's cabinet secretary for tourism and wildlife, was among senior officials who received the cruise liner from the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC Poesia).

"As a country, we are proud to receive visitors aboard the cruise ship who have reaffirmed that we remain a top-notch tourism destination," Mutua said, adding that in 2023, Kenya received 3,123 tourists who traveled via luxury ship.

The MSC Poesia cruise ship, carrying 2,500 foreign tourists, docked for 12 hours at the Mombasa Port before proceeding to other popular destinations in the continent, including Seychelles.

Measuring 294 meters, the luxury ship, whose 1,000 crew includes 20 Kenyans, has already made stopovers in the Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar, and it is expected to sail to Latin America and other global tourist hotspots.

The docking of a luxury cruise liner at Mombasa Port, whose passengers included Chinese tourists, injected vitality into the nascent cruise tourism sector in a post-pandemic era, said John Chirchir, acting chief executive officer of the Kenya Tourism Board, a state-owned tourism marketing agency.

Chirchir said Kenya regards China as a niche tourist source market with potential for growth, adding that cruise ships will help boost arrivals from the Asian nation.

Ahead of the Chinese New Year, tour operators in Kenya have come up with special offers to attract Chinese tourists, said Xie Pengjuan, secretary general of the Kenya Chinese Tourism Association.

She noted that besides showcasing traditional offerings like coastal beaches and wildlife parks to Chinese tourists, local sector players have focused on golf tournaments, mountain climbing, and visits to tea and coffee farms in a bid to boost arrivals.

Editor: Tian Shenyoujia