One of the biggest shipping companies, globally, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has announced that it has kicked off its sales for its 2024/2025 season.
On Wednesday, the company announced that it had opened sales for its South Africa 2024/25 sailing season that would feature MSC Musica.
MSC Cruises’ parent MSC Group is the world’s largest container shipping company that has operated in South Africa for more than 50 years and the organisation has grown to become the biggest shipping agency and largest shipping investor in South Africa.
More than one million MSC containers pass through South African ports each year through 750 ship calls.
“The vessel will start her season in November 2024 with sailings from the recently inaugurated R 330 million Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal in Durban and conclude her time in South Africa in April 2025 with sailings from Cape Town,” MSC Cruises said in a statement.
The ship will operate 34, 3-, 4- and 6-night sailings during her six-month deployment in South Africa to favoured destinations such as Portuguese Island and Pomene Island in Mozambique, Walvis Bay in Namibia, and Port Louis in Mauritius.
The 16-deck MSC Musica offers a distinctive cruise experience centred on elegance, comfort and hospitality with 1275 guest cabins.
Ross Volk, the managing director, MSC Cruises South Africa, said, “Our goal is to continue to offer our growing cruising community in South Africa the best product and excellent service. Our commitment to driving the growth of the tourism and hospitality industry in our country is stronger than ever before. We look forward to welcoming regular and new cruisers alike, onboard in 2024/25.”
Tourism on cruise liners is ramping up post-Covid, which led to companies, such as MSC Cruises, being forced to suspend their operations amid national lockdowns.
According to the US Cruise Market Report 2022-2026, released last year industry revenue is expected to go from $11.1 billion (R207bn) in 2022 to $21.1bn in 2023. However, that falls short of the cruise industry's revenue of $23.4bn in 2019, the report said.
Tourism in SA
South African tourism benefits from MSC Cruises.
Last year the Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal in Durban was launched and was inaugurated by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The building was devised and funded by MSC Cruises and its black economic empowerment partner African Armada Consortium and together with Transnet National Ports Authority created the first public-private partnership in South Africa’s cruise industry.
The new Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal in Durban will give access to passengers from more than 100 nationalities bolstering KwaZulu-Natal Province.
In South Africa, MSC Cruises also has its Shosholoza Ocean Academy, a premier recruitment and training agency representing the MSC Group Cruise Division in South Africa with jobs being advertised in South Africa. (https://www.shosholozaoceanacademy.co.za/)
In a recent interview with Business Report, TBCSA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said there had been an increase in domestic travellers as well as an increase in international arrivals last year.
“We believe we will see more of that going forward. Another positive was airlines launching more routes to South Africa,” Tshivhengwa said.
According to Trading Economics, tourist arrivals in South Africa increased to 1 000 462 in October from 943 387 in September of 2023. Tourist Arrivals in South Africa were said to average 553 299 from 1979 until 2023, reaching an all time high of 1 598 893.00 in January of 2018 and a record low of 29 341 in April of 2020.