Ships ahoy! The cruise economy in Cape Town is back on track

Table Mountain sunset. Picture: Supplied

Table Mountain sunset. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 1, 2022


It appears it’s going to be a bumper cruise season, with many ships making their way to the dock from now up until April 2023.

The first arrival by Hanseatic Spirit at the Port of Cape Town took place on October 18 and signalled a boost to the economy of the Mother City.

According to James Vos, the city's mayoral committee member for economic growth, people spend an estimated R100 million in total per port visit.

As a result, there will be a number of jobs in a variety of related industries. With one job being created for every 12 cruise tourists, this robust growth in the cruise sector is a real win-win for Cape Town and the central business district.

Picture: Supplied

Busy port

The latest State of Cape Town Central City Report 2021 – A Year in Review (SCCR), published by the Central City Improvement District (CCID), states that the Port of Cape Town is the second busiest in South Africa.

It is crucial in facilitating the cruise economy of the city and the province, thanks in part to the R80 million cruise terminal redevelopment at the V&A Waterfront which opened in May 2018.

The demand for global cruises reached 29.7 million passengers in 2019, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). However, the arrival of Covid-19 brought this part of the hospitality industry to its knees, with cruise operators suffering enormous financial losses.

Moving on from the ‘C’ word

It’s important to recognise the positive turn in the tourism sector, across all regions. At the start of the global pandemic, passengers and staff members on the cruise Diamond Princess had to quarantine amid an outbreak.

This caused sudden cancellation of hundreds of voyages, significantly affecting the industry and tarnishing the perception and promotion of cruising as a “safe” holiday.

A fresh start

Now, travellers can enjoy a stress-free holiday in the worlds’ ocean hotels. This season’s cruise liners will arrive in style at Cape Town’s cruise terminal with its world class customs facilities, immigration desks, passenger infrastructure, and baggage handling services.

Tasso Evangelinos, CEO of the CCID said: “The return of ocean liners to our shores is very heartening news as they bring thousands of visitors to our city. The cruise economy complements the hospitality industry in greater Cape Town and the central city, as these visitors stay in our hotels and guest houses, thereby boosting various economic tourism sectors.’’

‘’We look forward to welcoming the liners and their guests to our shores and our CBD,” Evangelinos added.

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