Cruise tourism boosts economy

The Cape Town Harbour is fast becoming the preferred port of call for travellers.

The MS Queen Elizabeth and the MSC Musica luxury cruise liners docked at the Cape Town harbour on Friday January 18.

The Queen Elizabeth cruise liner is no stranger to the city’s shores and carries 2 068 passengers and 996 crew members, and the MSC Musica has 1 268 passenger cabins, which can accommodate 2 550 passengers in double occupancy and is served by about 990 crew members.

The City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, James Vos, said Cape Town is fast becoming the preferred port of call for inbound and outbound international cruise travellers to South Africa.

“We had the honour of welcoming the Aida Aura from her world cruise (the previous) week and she was carrying 1 200 passengers and 390 crew members. Today (Friday) we welcome two cruise liners who have collectively brought in over 4 000 visitors to our shores. We trust they will enjoy the day in Cape Town and take time out to visit some of the city’s world-class tourist attractions.”

According to the V&A Waterfront, which funded the upgrade of the Cape Town Harbour, the cruise industry has experienced significant growth from just 6 050 passengers in 2012, to 29 269 passengers in 2016, and 31 035 passengers in 2017.

During the 2016/17 cruise season, approximately 19 vessels visited the Cape Town harbour.

There was also a significant increase in local cruising along the South African coastline.

Mr Vos said the cruise tourism industry has shown significant year-on-year growth and makes a substantial contribution not only to this city’s economy but to the South African economy at large.

“This sector has the potential to grow even further with huge economic spin-offs for the city and its residents. I will work with our tourism partners and the V&A Waterfront to promote the city as a destination of choice globally for cruise tourism. For every 12 tourists visiting our shores, one job is created. We will continue to invest in tourism programmes and projects that drive demand and make business sense, as tourism sustains about 150 000 jobs in Cape Town.”

Figures from Cape Town Tourism indicate that the projected value of the cruise tourism industry between 2017 and 2027 is estimated to be in the region of R220 billion.

Cruise ships carrying around 2 000 passengers result in spending to the value of R2 million a day.

Mr Vos said the cruise industry had the potential to provide substantial economic benefits, which arise from a number of sources such as the spending power by cruise passengers and crew, the shoreside staffing by cruise liners for tour operations, the spending by cruise liners for goods and services necessary for cruise operations, and the spending for port services and maintenance.

“Based on the number of confirmed bookings for the 2019/20 cruise season, we can already see a dramatic increase in the number of vessels due to visit our port and city.”

On Sunday January 27,
the Ocean Dream will be arriving at the Cruise Terminal at E Berth from Maputo at 5am. The Ocean Dream, also known as “Peace Boat”, focuses on on-board education with lecture halls, classrooms, offices, workshop rooms and rehearsal areas. The ship is staffed by 250 professional officers and crew and has a passenger capacity of 1 422. Cabins range from 4-bunk to large suites with decks. The ship will depart on the same day at 11pm to Walvis Bay.

On Wednesday February 20, Seabourn Sojourn will dock at E Berth from Mossel Bay at 6am. The 2010 model belongs to the Seabourn Cruise Line company and is the flagship cruise of the Seabourn fleet. She has a length of 198m and can carry 458 passengers. With two pools, a spa, a casino and other entertainment, guests will always be occupied aboard the liner. The ship will depart on Friday February 22 at 11am to High Seas.