Chinese tourists celebrate Lunar New Year on cruise ship

Saturday February 10 2024

Some of the 2500 tourists that arrived in Mombasa, Kenya aboard MSC Poesia at the Cruise Ship Terminal from Italy on February 3, 2024. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI


Some 2,500 tourists arrived in Mombasa last weekend aboard the MSC Poesia, a cruise luxury ship, among them Chinese coming to celebrate the Spring Festival. The Spring Festival, marking the Lunar New Year, kicks off the Year of the Dragon and ends on February 24 with the Lantern Festival.

Chu Hongge, a technology entrepreneur, said she was delighted to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Africa. They visited the Wasini Island and Tsavo East National Park.

The date for the Lunar New Year changes each year, as it follows a lunar calendar.

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.

Read: EA tourism boost as China eases travel ban

She said that besides showcasing traditional offerings like coastal beaches and wildlife parks, golf tournaments, mountain climbing, and visits to tea and coffee farms are also on offer.


In 2023, 3,213 passengers and crew aboard luxury vessels visited Mombasa and Lamu ports. So far, in 2024, 6,810 passengers and crew have visited.

Measuring 294 metres, the luxury ship, whose 1,000 crew includes 20 Kenyans, has made a stopover in Zanzibar, and it is expected to sail to Latin America.

John Chirchir, acting CEO of Kenya Tourism Board, 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.