SA Cruise News

SA announces plans to triple Cape Town cruise tourism numbers

South Africa wants to triple the number of cruise tourists visiting the country via Cape Town by 2040, according to Derek Hanekom, the country’s Minister for Tourism.

The plans were laid out in a written reply to a parliamentary question by DA MP Greg Krumbock. In the reply, Hanekom said the department of tourism plans to co-ordinate the development of a strategy to maximise cruise tourism.

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The strategy aims to encourage more cruise lines to homeport in the country or conduct turnarounds in Cape Town, and stay longer in port. Recognising that the success of any cruise destination relies on regional leverage, the plans also call for collaboration with neighbouring destinations along SA’s two coasts.

Within South Africa itself, Hanekom said all relevant stakeholders from port cities, provinces, and harbour authorities to local tourism authorities and tourism associations would be involved in the development of the cruise tourism maximisation strategy.

The development of cruise tourism would promote the growth of the tourism sector and related products such as wine outlets, jewellery and arts and crafts in close proximity of arrival facilities, Hanekom said.

To do this, the department would need to leverage economic spin-offs for tour operators, hotels, game reserves, lodges and attractions and related industries.

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South Africa has already taken steps to improve cruise infrastructure in the country, with the redevelopment of the Cape Town Cruise Terminal at the V&A Waterfront and the development of a new KwaZulu Cruise Terminal in Durban to replace N-Shed.

KwaZulu Cruise Terminal Company, a joint venture between MSC Cruises and Africa Armada Consortium, has agreed a 25-year concession project to finance, construct, operate, maintain and transfer the terminal with Transnet National Ports Authority.

Operations are expected to begin with the start of the 2020-21 cruise season in October 2020 and will significantly boost cruise tourism in Durban, according to local officials.

It is hoped that these initiatives will see cruise calls rise from 60 ships per year to more than 150, which should see passenger numbers grow from 200,000 to more than 700,000 by 2040.

Crucial to the success of the plan is the use of Cape Town and Durban as turnaround ports. Currently, only MSC Cruises homeports annually in Durban, while 29 cruise calls will use Cape Town as a turnaround port in 2019, including three homeporting cruise lines.

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