News of South Africa moving to Adjusted Alert Level 1 of Lockdown has triggered a positive domino effect for tourism – cruising will resume in November.
Cruise tourism has been adversely affected since the country went into lockdown due to the global pandemic. Cruises have been operating successfully under strict health protocols globally, and now South Africa joins the scene. The first ship is scheduled to dock at the Port of Cape Town on 18 November 2021.
“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.
“And so, we welcome the announcement and urge President Ramaphosa to consider easing further restrictions where it is safe to do so, such as allowing spectators at major sporting events. Our economic recovery is dependent on the recovery of the tourism and hospitality sector and so we will continue to do everything we can to support the sector to reopen safely so that we can save jobs in the Western Cape,” said Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier.
Following a R59 million redevelopment, the Port of Cape Town situated as the V&A Waterfront has a dedicated, state-of-the-art terminal ready to welcome back visitors.
A long wait
“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.
Boasting an abundance of wide-open spaces and wallet-friendly world-class experiences, the province is the perfect destination for travel in a new COVID-19 world. With traveller numbers 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. These economic benefits arise from several sources such as the spending power by cruise passengers and crew, shore-side 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. 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 re-ignite tourism in Cape Town and make it better than ever,” said Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management.
The cruise industry holds major economic benefits and opportunities
Beyond tourism, the cruise industry holds major economic benefits and opportunities for supporting sectors. With the growing trend of combining work and leisure, cruise liners are geared to tap into this burgeoning market with Wi-Fi, desks and work-friendly cafes incorporated into liner offerings, ensuring passengers can still do business while enjoying a cruise vacation.
During 2019 alone, there were approximately 30 million passengers which helped generate $72 billion 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.
Commenting on behalf of the Cruise Cape Town initiative, Labeeqah Schuurman, Chief Strategy Officer and official spokesperson for Cruise Cape Town concluded: “The Cruise Cape Town initiative welcomes the Presidency’s announcement and would like to thank partners across the public and private sector who joined us in advocating for the resumption of this lucrative tourism market. There is a hunger for cruise to resume, with already 37 ships expected to our shores between November 2021 and May 2022.”