Published on : Monday, November 27, 2017
With cruise season in full swing, the international leisure liners sailing into popular ports like Cape Town and Durban since late October – are bringing with them wealthy tourists, keen to splurge on cultural, tourism and gastronomic experiences unique to these coastal cities.
On a global scale, the luxury cruise ship market has burgeoned over the past 17 years from around five million passengers to more than 25 million.
The demand for cruise tourism, according to the latest Cruise Lines International Association report increased by 62% from 2005 to 2015 and the bulk of passengers – with cash to splash – come from Europe, Canada and Brazil.
The South African government has recognised the worth of foreign tourist spend, prompting the National Development Plan to allocate the tourism as one of the main sustainable job-creating sectors in the economy.
With more than 20 luxury cruise ships, which are operated by 17 international liners – calling at South Africa’s main harbours, Transnet National Ports Authority has kicked off plans to turn Durban and Cape Town terminals into world class facilities, in a bid to rival global counterparts like Hong Kong and Naples, Italy and bolster the economy.
The Chief Executive Shulami Qalinge said the unit had positioned Durban and Cape Town as stimulus cruise home ports, while Richards Bay, Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth and East London continue to receive their share of cruise ships.