This year, South Africa’s cruise season is experiencing a boom, with more than 20 luxury cruise ships - operated by 17 international shipping lines - calling at South Africa's main harbours. Globally, the luxury cruise ship market has burgeoned over the past 17 years, from around five million passengers to more than 25 million per annum.
The latest Cruise Lines International Association report indicates that the global demand for cruising has increased by 62% from 2005 to 2015, with the majority of passengers coming from Europe, Canada and Brazil.
As a result of SA’s growing cruise-tourism market, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) has kicked off plans to turn Durban and Cape Town terminals into world-class facilities.
TNPA Chief Executive, Shulami Qalinge, said: "We are making progress in our efforts to introduce new and modern cruise terminals with safe, reliable and efficient marine services that will provide a gateway to South African experiences.” She said the continued attraction of international tour operators “has economic spin-offs for local tour operators, hotels, game reserves, lodges and tourist attractions in our port cities”.
South African Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, said the projected value of the cruise tourism industry between now and 2027 was estimated to be in the region of R220bn (€13bn). Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism added: “A 2011 City of Cape Town report found that cruise ships carrying around 2 000 passengers resulted in spending to the value of R2.2million (€134 000) per day.”
Figures for Cape Town, according to the V&A Waterfront, show that the industry has grown from 6 050 passengers in 2012 to 14 754 passengers in 2013, climbing to 29 269 in 2016. Duminy said: “2017 is set to represent further growth, as passenger figures currently stand at 28 845, excluding those for November and December, traditionally regarded as good for cruise arrivals.”
He added that the cruise industry had the potential to provide economic benefits not only to the port cities, but the entire country. “These benefits arise from a number of sources: the spending by cruise passengers and crew; the shore-side staffing by cruise liners for tour operations; the spending by cruise lines for goods and services necessary for cruise operations; and the spending for port services and maintenance.”