Two thousand two hundred passengers arrived at the Hambantota International Port (HIP) yesterday, on board cruise liner, Mein Schiff 5. The vessel is on a 60 day cruise from Hong Kong to Heraklion in Greece, visiting several ports in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Oman, Jordan and Egypt in between.
The cruise ship passengers who had approximately 12 hours in Hambantota, visited the Yala national park, Udawalawe wildlife park, and the historical rock temple of Mulkirigala, which are among the top attractions for visitors to HIP. Bundala National Park, Hambantota Botanical Gardens, Galle and Kataragama were popular destinations among the Mein Schiff 5’s passengers. Aside from exploring Hambantota by tuk-tuk, some enjoyed the beaches and the Hambantota Golf resort & Spa at the Shangri La Hotel.
The Mein Schiff 5, which docked at HIP in November last year, was the first passenger cruise ship to call at the port after the pandemic. The vessel, called at Phuket, Thailand prior to HIP, and its next port of call will be Colombo.
No longer a white elephant it seems. The triumvirate of port, airport, logistics and related infrastructure in a small space is a potent combination.