Cape Town profile as 'gateway to Africa' gets a boost as cruise liner drive takes off
The tourism and maritime industries in the Western Cape have received a boost with the launch of a new tourism project, “Cruise Cape Town”, which it is hoped will grow the cruise liner economy.
During the official launch of the project on Monday, the Western Cape’s official investment and trade promoting agency, Wesgro, said the initiative is aimed to increase the cruise liner economy in the province. It was also set to improve the province’s competitiveness in the cruise industry and stimulate economic growth and job creation, particularly for the youth.
Western Cape finance and economic opportunities MEC David Maynier said the initiative would not only provide a much-needed economic boost to the province, but would “simultaneously raise the maritime and tourism profile of the province”.
“We are proud to be partners of Cruise Cape Town, which is an exciting initiative by Wesgro to support the tourism sector and promote Cape Town and the Western Cape as a destination of choice for cruise passengers. While cruises have not yet resumed, the pre-Covid trajectory of the sector as well as the continued interest of travellers to book cruises and travel as soon as it is safe to do so means that rebuilding the cruise sector in the Western Cape is a key opportunity for us now. We are open and ready to safely welcome cruise passengers to Cape Town and the Western Cape,” he said.
Having been in operation since September 2020, the initiative looks to capitalise on the growing cruise tourism trend. Despite the lockdown and travel restrictions, the drivers of the project are hoping that it will recommence from October 2021, with 83 confirmed bookings already secured for cruise ships to the V&A Waterfront this year.
A public/private sector initiation, its partners include Western Cape's department of economic development and tourism, Cape Town, the V&A Waterfront, Transnet National Ports Authority, the South African Maritime Safety Authority and Wesgro.
It’s an added plus to the port of Cape Town, which recently underwent a R59m redevelopment, with a dedicated cruise terminal now established at the V&A Waterfront. Boasting a robust maritime sector and positioned alongside one of the country’s busiest ports, in Durban, Cape Town port is also “well positioned to unlock the potential of the lucrative cruise market when travel resumes”.
Mpumi Dweba-Kwetana, Cape Town's port manager, said the initiative “will result in more vessels calling at the port and more passengers disembarking and embarking at the terminal”.
“Overall this initiative will reduce unemployment and poverty as there will be more industries that will benefit from the increased vessel calls.”
David Green, CEO of the V&A Waterfront, said: “We have constructed a world-class terminal that has improved the total experience for cruise passengers and successfully integrated it into our service amenities such as hotels, attractions and retail offerings. Being adjacent to Makers Landing, our new food community that celebrates our culture and heritage through food, ensures that we give international visitors a true Cape Town welcome. We feel this will enhance the desirability of the port and Cape Town as a destination for a cruise.”