Following the move to adjusted alert level 1, enabling the resumption of cruise tourism to South Africa’s shores, the first cruise ship is scheduled to dock at the Port of Cape Town Cruise Terminal on November 18.
International cruises have been successfully operating globally under very strict health protocols, and the Cruise Cape Town initiative is excited to have Cape Town and South Africa rejoin the global cruise scene.
Labeeqah Schuurman, Chief Strategy Officer and official spokesperson for Cruise Cape Town, said: “The Cruise Cape Town initiative welcomes the Presidency’s announcement and would like to thank partners across the public and private sectors who joined us in advocating for the resumption of this lucrative tourism market. There is a hunger for cruises to resume, with 37 ships already expected to visit our shores between November 2021 and May 2022.”
Following a R59 million redevelopment, the Port of Cape Town at the V&A Waterfront has a dedicated, state-of-the-art cruise terminal ready to welcome back visitors.
“It’s been a long wait, and we’re pleased that we will be able to have a cruise season start this year. We’re excited and ready to welcome back international guests and crews to Cape Town and to pick up where we left off in growing this sector of our tourism,” commented David Green, CEO of the V&A Waterfront.
After traveller numbers were impacted by previous travel restrictions, local tourism operators are eager and ready to safely welcome back visitors from around the globe.
“In the last few years, before the pandemic, the city’s cruise industry witnessed significant growth year-on-year. In 2012, 6 050 passengers arrived on cruise ships to the Mother City and by the 2018-2019 season, this figure reached 52 580. This sector has the potential to grow even further with huge economic spin-offs for the city and its people,” said Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, James Vos.
He pointed out that these economic benefits arose from several sources, such as the spending power of cruise passengers and crew, shore-side staffing by cruise lines for tour operations, the spending by cruise liners for goods and services necessary for cruise operations, and the spending for port services and maintenance.
“As global markets and industries start to emerge from the pandemic and with tourists itching to travel again, this is a critical time to activate platforms that will reignite tourism in Cape Town and make it better than ever,” added Vos.
Beyond tourism, the cruise industry holds major economic benefits and opportunities for supporting sectors. With the growing trend of combining work and leisure, cruise lines are geared to tap into this burgeoning market with WiFi, desks and work-friendly cafés incorporated into ships’ offerings, ensuring passengers can still do business while enjoying a cruise vacation.
During 2019 alone, there were approximately 30 million passengers, which helped generate US$72 billion (R1,08tn) in direct cruise sector revenue at destinations around the globe. This revenue also includes the direct expenditures of the cruise lines for goods and services in support of their cruise operations.
Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, said: “The reopening of cruise tourism is something we called for as one of several barriers that need to be urgently removed to ensure a successful summer season and provide much-needed relief for the tourism and hospitality sector, which has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.”