SA Cruise News

SA has potential for more than 1-million cruise tourists by 2025 says new report

South Africa is aiming to grow its cruise market to more than 1-million passengers by 2025, according to Phindile Makwakwa, the acting CEO for Tourism KwaZulu-Natal.

“Cruising is one of the fastest growing sectors in the global tourism industry and more and more South Africans are also enjoying holidays on sea to various destinations,” she says in a comment piece published by IOL.

The redevelopment of the Durban Beach Front and the construction of a new cruise terminal is expected to boost the local cruise market

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“More than 100,000 passengers already cruise annually on MSC Cruises ships, which operate a six-month season to various destinations in the region from [Durban],” she adds.

“In the next few months, Durban is planning to build a brand-new dedicated world-class R200-million-plus green and energy-efficient terminal, which will be able to handle embarkation and disembarkation from two vessels at the same time.”

The planned Durban Cruise Terminal

The state-of-the-art terminal is expected to have a major impact on local cruise tourism as it will attract larger cruise ships in greater numbers to the country.

A recent Grant Thornton study commissioned by the government found that cruise passenger figures throughout South Africa could increase to one million passengers by 2025.

At present, around 20 cruise ships from two dozen cruise lines make port calls in Cape Town, and use the city as a turnaround port for their cruises. An increasing number of luxury cruise lines are also using Cape Town as a roundtrip homeport for short South African cruise seasons.

Durban and Cape Town are therefore expected to achieve the highest market share, with Durban expected to attract as many as 470,000 passengers by 2025 thanks to the new cruise terminal, says Makwakwa.

MSC Cruises is currently the only cruise line homeporting in Durban

RELATED: Why South Africa needs a Durban Cruise Terminal

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“The cruise season is also likely to be extended too, resulting in further economic spin-off for the hospitality and tourism industry,” she says. “The new cruise terminal will help develop Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal province as an international destination.”

What South Africa really needs, if it wants to reach 1-million cruise passengers by 2025, is more mainstream or mass-market cruise lines to homeport in either Durban or Cape Town.

AIDAmira will be the first mainstream (mass market) cruise ship ever to homeport in SA alongside MSC

MSC Cruises has been the sole homeporting mainstream line in South Africa for several decades, but will be joined this year by AIDA Cruises, which is sending its smallest ship Aidamira down to Cape Town for a full season of South African cruises.

“We continue to engage with cruise destination planners and other players on the latest trends in the industry,” says Makwakwa. “This will enable us to position our destination and use tactics that will create an increasing demand for cruise ships to dock in Durban.”

Phindile Makwakwa, acting CEO for Tourism KwaZulu-Natal

Using the Dubai cruise market in the Arabian Gulf as a case study, South Africa needs to get at least eight more cruise lines to homeport in South Africa, offering week-long cruises on ships carrying at least 3,000 to 4,000 passengers in order to reach its 1-million passenger goal.

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