Transnet said they are expecting a busy 2023/24 cruise season as they welcomed the Vasco Da Gama cruise liner to the Port of Durban on Saturday.
Mpumi Dweba-Kwetana, Durban port manager, said planned cruise liner calls were expected to dramatically increase this season, from 16 vessels last season to 70 this season.
“The Port of Durban welcomed the first passenger liner to call at the port’s KwaZulu Cruise Terminal this season, Vasco Da Gama, on her maiden voyage to Durban with 500 passengers on board.”
Dweba-Kwetana added that the increase in cruise vessel calls is set to significantly boost eThekwini Municipality’s economy and showcase Durban as a premier tourist destination.
Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) senior specialist in the office of the managing executive for the eastern region, Paul Sessions, said the Durban port has been hard at work maintaining port infrastructure to ensure the safe navigation and berthing of all cruise vessels.
“We are excited to welcome Vasco Da Gama to our shores, and we look forward to seeing more cruise vessels dock at our flagship cruise terminal.
This bodes well for the cruise development investments that have been made by TNPA, the terminal operator and eThekwini Municipality into this tourism and recreational precinct.”
Councillor Philisiwe Ndlovu, deputy chairperson for the City’s Economic Development and Planning Committee, said the municipality’s tourism authority, Durban Tourism, had commissioned a mobile kiosk to be stationed at the Durban cruise terminal this cruise season.
“This will assist all passengers with navigating Durban and tailor-making unique tourism experiences that the city has to offer. The kiosk emanates from our continued partnership with KwaZulu Cruise Terminal and will offer tourists a convenient way to engage with Durban Tourism and its subsidiaries.”
Ndlovu added that they are confident that they will exceed the 151 985 cruise passengers that they welcomed in the last season.
“This will enable us to create seasonal job opportunities and support local businesses.”
Professor Irrshad Kaseeram, from the University of Zululand’s Economics Department, said the cruise tourism industry directly supports 1.2 million jobs globally. “Indirectly, it also helps local communities where the ship docks as they benefit tremendously through the sale of cultural artefacts, souvenirs, food etc.”
Economist Dawie Roodt said cruise liner tourism was good for the local economy.
“This is especially good for Durban as tourists will purchase food and other items and boost local tourism.”
Roodt added that it’s also a good marketing opportunity for Durban.
“It’s a chance for Durban to show its offerings and encourage more international visitors to come to Durban and KZN.”