The Cruise Cape Town Initiative – a strategic project housed within Wesgro – has welcomed the resumption of cruise tourism with the arrival of the MSC Orchestra in Cape Town yesterday (January 13).
The ship then departed Cape Town for a five-night cruise to Port Elizabeth, returning to Cape Town.
Cape Town’s tourism sector – and its hopes to grow the cruising sector – was dealt a heavy blow in late November when all key source markets implemented heavy travel bans on South Africa following the discovery of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
A total of 36 cruise ships scheduled to dock in Cape Town, cancelled their sailings well into May this year.
Yet the Mother City’s cruising sector remained hopeful. Cruise Cape Town said that, globally, the demand for cruising reflected a 20.5% growth over the last five years, with the Cape Town Cruise Terminal performing exceptionally well with 206 cruise ships recorded over the last five cruise seasons (2015-2019).
Vessels that docked at the Cape Town Cruise Terminal during the November 2018-April 2019 cruise season collectively contributed over R2 million (€113 400) in spend from ships’ crew members alone. The highest spend was linked to hotels, handling processing, transport and meals for crew members.
“The economic boost to be gained from cruise tourism is massive, holding huge potential to further drive regional tourism, create jobs in both downstream and upstream industries and boost investment into Cape Town and the Western Cape. We welcome the resumption of the cruise season and the promise it holds in positively impacting our local economy,” said Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier.
James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities at the City of Cape Town, added: “We will continue to work closely with partners across the public and private sectors who share our goal of creating opportunity.
“A recent example is the official launch of Cruise Cape Town, a partnership between the City of Cape Town, Wesgro, Transnet National Ports Authority, the Western Province Department of Economic Development and Tourism, the V&A Waterfront, and the South African Maritime Safety Authority. The Mother City is fast gaining recognition as a prime destination for cruise liners and we want to capitalise on this.”
Welcoming the arrival, David Green, CEO of the V&A Waterfront, said: “MSC’s return gives confidence and good news for the tourism sector that we may still have a cruising season left of our summer. The cruise industry is one of the last sectors to resume operations and we’re excited and ready to safely welcome back local and international guests and crews to Cape Town. We expect that we can look forward to more operators resuming their operations to call into Cape Town for the 2022-2023 season, with a real prospect of us returning to our pre-COVID growth.”
Wrenelle Stander, Wesgro CEO and official spokesperson for the Cruise Cape Town Initiative, pointed out that, despite getting off to a slow start because of COVID regulations and Omicron, the Cruise Cape Town Initiative remained dedicated to promoting and enabling this highly profitable tourism sector in the upcoming months.