Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has backed calls to build a bridge that links Mombasa island and the south Coast.
Mr Balala said he will champion the construction of the bridge at Cabinet level as it would be a lasting solution to the ferry crisis, which has crippled tourism in Diani Resort town.
He said unless a bridge was built, it would be difficult for Kwale County to develop.
“The construction of a bridge will boost tourism, mining, agriculture and factories in Kwale,” he said.
“And I am not campaigning for the bridge just because I come from the Coast.”
Mr Balala said if Mombasa Governor Mr Hassan Ali Joho has plans for the construction of the bridge, the government should fund the project.
He said the building of the multi-billion shilling Dongo Kundu bypass was good though it would be an alternative route rather than a solution to the ferry breakdown menace.
During a tourism stakeholders’ meeting in Mombasa on Monday, Mr Balala said time had come for the government to address the transport crisis in order to revive tourism in Diani.
“Over the years, tourists have been complaining about the poor state of the ferries. We now have a government that is committed to revamping the sector,” he assured.
Kenya Association of Tour Operators Coast Chairperson Monika Solanki also called on the government to consider building the bridge.
She said many tourists from Diani miss their return flights due to hours-long delays of ferry services.
Last month, Kenya Ferry Services Managing Director Mr Musa Hassan Musa said construction of a bridge would solve the transport challenges at Likoni channel.
“More than 300,000 passengers and 5,000 vehicles cross the channel daily,” Mr Musa said.
The KFS boss said the old ferries could no longer cope with the huge numbers of passengers and vehicles.