Photo courtesy of www.seanews.com
The main economic activity in Mombasa is tourism which contributes more than half of the total gross income of the region. It is the most visited place along east Africa and continues to be a magnet for visitors because of its fantastic beaches, rich cultural history and natural sights among others. The following are some of the activities which form the backbone of Mombasa’s economy.
Tourism plays an important role in the economy of Mombasa. It is the main source of income and contributes more than half of the total gross income. The main tourist attraction features in Mombasa include pristine coasts which host several world class beaches, Marine national parks that are rich in aquatic life, historical sights like fort Jesus, Gedi ruins and the famous Vasco Da Gama pillar and lots of culture and history. These fascinating sceneries have vast qualities which make them highly attractive. They are easily accessible as a result of modern infrastructures which have been developed in the area. Tourism has long been viewed as an effective method of development and indeed is playing an important role in development and growth of of Mombasa’s economy.
As early as 15th century Mombasa was a leading center for long distance trade. Its trade links went as far as India and modern day china. The main items of trade included spices, gold and ivory. Slave trade was also dominant but the main source of income was ivory trade. The strategic location of city was a key node in trading networks across India ,Persia and Yemen. Mombasa today remains trading center where traders from all parts of the world meet to transact business. The presence of a good harbor has also boosted trade in the region which facilitates much of export and import trade. It is also characterized by presence of many markets which offer a bright, fun, and unforgettable shopping experience to many visitors. There are also a large number of vendors in the open air markets who sell hand made crafts, jewelry, carvings and traditional clothing.
DEEP SEA FISHING
Mombasa is also a center for deep sea fishing. It is not commercially practiced activity but plans are underway to make use of this underwater treasure by provision of modern fishing facilities. This will in turn create employment to the locals who can now earn a living from this activity thus improving there living standards. Although fishing is not a new activity in Mombasa, it is yet to take root in this region.
This is another economic activity practiced in Mombasa. It is the third largest economic activity in Mombasa after tourism and trade. The climate along the coastal region is very conducive for agriculture .There are two main rain seasons; during March and October. The main crops which are grown in this area include coconuts, palm trees, cashew nuts and sisal among others. A sisal plantation is a common feature in the area and is the main cash crop which is exported to Canada.
Mombasa has recorded a slight, progressive, Economic growth over the last five years. This can be directly linked to growth in the tourism sector as a result of modern hotels being developed daily in the area and efficient transport system. It is becoming a fascinating and cosmopolitan coastal city.