Cruise tourism holds big promise for South African tourism

Published on : Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Cruise tourismAlthough South Africa’s economy might have hit difficult times, its booming cruise tourism industry is expected to help it bounce back to better times.


With cruise season in full swing – international leisure liners sailing into popular ports like Cape Town and Durban since late October are bringing wealthy tourists who are keen to splurge on cultural, tourism and gastronomic experiences unique to these coastal cities.


On a global scale, the luxury cruise ship market has grown a lot over the past 17 years from around five million passengers to more than 25 million.


The demand for cruising, according to the latest Cruise Lines International Association report increased by 62% from 2005 to 2015. A majority of these passengers come from Europe, Canada and Brazil.


With more than 20 luxury cruise ships – operated by 17 international liners – calling at South Africa’s main harbours, Transnet National Ports Authority has initiated plans to turn Durban and Cape Town terminals into world class facilities, outgoing global counterparts like Hong Kong and Naples, Italy and boost the economy.


Transnet has recognized that both cities – Cape Town and Durban have a great deal to offer foreigners including good climate, amazing beaches, wildlife and mountain experiences as well as proximity, along with Durban’s two World Heritage Sites, Isimangaliso Wetland Park and the Drakensberg.


Enver Duminy, head of Cape Town Tourism said that the projected value of the cruise tourism industry between now and 2027 is estimated to be around R220bn.


DA Shadow Minister for Tourism, James Vos said that the cruise industry had the potential to provide economic benefits not only to the port cities, but the entire country.


Karen Kohler, a research manager at Tourism KZN, said that apart from tourist spend, the re-provisioning of ships brought in significant income for Durban.


According to Kohler, passengers spend in excess of US$100 per day while on shore.
“The total passenger spend is extremely difficult to calculate. However, it is likely to be in the region of over R20m, while the value of re-provisioning is likely to be in the region of R80m,” she said.

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