Mombasa, Kenya, December 31, 2011 – Kenya had signed a deal with the
European Union (EU) to provide security escorts to cruise ships visiting
the East African coast, Tourism Minister Najib Balala said Tuesday.
"The EU will be working with our navy to beef up security so as to
attract more tourists," Balala said after receiving Silver Winds, a
cruise ship that left Miami, the United States, with 500 tourists on a
Balala said the ship sailed into Mombasa under tight security by the
European Naval Taskforce (EUNAVFOR), which has been offering protection
for humanitarian deliveries of relief supplies destined for Somalia.
Silver Wind arrival at the Kenyan coast came as a big tourism boost to
Kenya, whose tourism has suffered a decline since September when the
Somali militant group, Al-Shabaab, kidnapped tourists in the Lamu
archipelago, one of Kenya’s most popular tourist destinations and
Spanish humanitarian volunteers at a Kenyan refugee camp.
According to the latest tourist figures, apart from 586 visitors in
January to February, Kenya has not witnessed any major tourist arrivals
"This can be largely attributed to insecurity in the Indian Ocean.
"Until and unless insecurity is addressed, the once lucrative cruise
ship tourism industry is bound to collapse," Balala warned earlier.
The tourists wishing to visit Kenya are forced to pay higher insurance
premiums and other liability costs, which make it even less attractive
to visitors, according to Balala
Somali pirates are currently holding 200 seafarers, including a woman,
hostage, while at least 60 seamen have died in captivity since December