PICTURE: SUPPLIED
Durban - The Port of Durban, operated by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), has once again scooped the prestigious title of Africa’s Leading Cruise Port at the World Travel Awards. The Africa & Indian Ocean gala awards ceremony took place at Sugar Beach, Mauritius at the weekend where Durban won in three categories - Leading City Destination, Leading Meetings and Conference Destination and Leading Cruise Port. The awards were presented by South African media personality, Jo-Anne Strauss.

This year’s awards once again saw the port up against strong contenders including Kenya’s Port of Mombasa,  Tanzania’s Ports of Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar, as well as South Africa’s Ports of Cape Town and Port  Elizabeth.

The Port of Durban previously held the title from 2010 to 2013 before losing it to Cape Town in 2014 and then  to Mombasa from 2015 to 2017.

“We’re thrilled to have retained this respected title and  we must thank South Africans for so eagerly making cruise voyages a part of their lifestyle. Our thanks also go  the cruise line operators that continue to show such confidence in our port by including it on their itineraries,  often with multiple vessels calling to our sunny shores, said  Acting Durban Port Manager, Nokuzola Nkowane.

Nkowane also expressed gratitude to  all the players in the local tourism sector who offer shore excursions and  cultural experiences to make the city of Durban such an attractive tourism destination.

"They work constantly,  ensuring our continued  appeal to domestic and international tourists alike," Nkowane said. 

The Port of Durban’s 2018/19 cruise season show passenger figures as having increased by 29.4% over the  previous year, according to TNPA’s recently released data.

TNPA processed 255 422 passenger embarkations and disembarkations at the port, up from the 197 382  recorded in 2017/18. The port enjoyed 63 calls by 16 different cruise vessels. 

To develop the port’s cruise sector facilities even further, the KwaZulu Cruise Terminal (KCT) consortium was  awarded a 25-year concession to develop a new cruise terminal and is presently finalising the detailed design  ahead of an anticipated commissioning date of 2020.

Durban is presently used as a home port by MSC Cruises, which will introduce its MSC ORCHESTRA vessel on  the route in the 2019/20 season, following success with MSC SINFONIA and MSC MUSICA over the last few  years.

Nkowane also congratulated Silversea Cruises, which was named Africa’s Leading Cruise Line 2019.  Headquartered in Monaco, the company has become a regular to local cruise ports, usually with two or three  vessels sailing locally per cruise season, including Silver Discoverer, Silver Whisper, Silver Spirit and Silver  Cloud.

Founded in 1993, the World Travel Awards seek to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all  sectors of the global travel and tourism industry. 

South African entities scooped more than 25 categories at the awards ceremony including:
  • Africa’s Leading Festival & Event Destination 2019 - Cape Town
  • Africa’s Leading Airport 2019 - Cape Town International Airport
  • Africas Leading Casino Resort 2019 - Sun City
  • Africa's Leading Tourist Attraction 2019 - Table Mountain, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading Sports Resort 2019 - Legend Golf & Safari Resort, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading Boutique Hotel 2019 - Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading City Hotel 2019 - Pepperclub Hotel & Spa, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading Cruise Line 2019 - Silversea Cruises
  • Africa's Leading Cruise Port 2019 Port of Durban, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading Design Hotel 2019 - MannaBay, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading Hotel Brand 2019 - Hilton Hotels & Resorts
  • Africa's Leading Hotel Suite 2019 - Nelson Mandela Platinum Suite @ Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading Inflight Magazine 2019 - Sawubona (South African Airways)
  • Africa's Leading Luxury Hotel 2019 - The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading Luxury Hotel Villa 2019 - Villa Two @ Ellerman House, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading Luxury Lodge 2019 - Silvan Safari, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading Luxury Private Villa 2019 - Villa iZulu @ Thanda Safari, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading Luxury Train 2019 - The Blue Train
  • Africa's Leading Meetings & Conference Destination 2019 - Durban, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading MICE Hotel 2019 - The Westin Cape Town, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading Private Game Reserve 2019 - Shambala Private Game Reserve, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading Resort 2019 - Sun City Resort, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading Safari Lodge 2019 - Thanda Safari Lodge at Thanda Safari, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading Serviced Apartments 2019 - Lawhill Luxury Apartments, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading Sports Resort 2019 - Legend Golf & Safari Resort, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading Tourist Attraction 2019 - Table Mountain, South Africa
  • Africa's Leading Travel Agency 2019 - Club Travel, South Africa
THE MERCURY