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Durban conquers Cape Town to win Africa’s Leading Cruise Port at World Travel Awards

The Port of Durban has scooped the prestigious title of Africa’s Leading Cruise Port 2018 at the 25th annual World Travel Awards, widely regarded to be the Oscars of the travel industry.

Although Cape Town is the primary cruise port for cruise departures from South Africa, Durban is the most visited cruise port by sheer numbers, thanks to MSC Cruises, which homeports in Durban annually for roundtrip cruises in the Indian Ocean.

City Manager for eThekwini Municipality, Sipho Nzuza, accepted the award on behalf of Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) which owns and operates the Port of Durban.


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“We are delighted as the Port of Durban to have scooped the title of Africa’s Leading Cruise Port and would like to congratulate the other strong nominees in this category, which included two other ports operated by TNPA – Cape Town and Port Elizabeth,” said Acting Durban Port Manager, Nokuzola Nkowane.

“Durban is already well entrenched as one of the busiest ports in Africa from a cargo perspective, but accolades like this demonstrate how versatile we are and most importantly show that the work we are doing to develop our cruise tourism sector has not gone unnoticed globally,” she added.

World Travel Awards 2018 pic

City Manager for eThekwini Municipality, Sipho Nzuza, accepted the award on behalf of Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA)

Durban is in the midst of developing a new purpose-built cruise terminal for the city. The Durban Cruise Terminal will replace the existing N-Shed Passenger Terminal that has been in use since the early days of cruise tourism in South Africa.

In addition to Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, Durban was also up against Kenya’s Port of Mombasa and Tanzania’s Ports of Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar.

Nkowane said that improving Durban’s global status as an attractive cruise destination would bring more international cruise lines and passengers to the country, creating a big economic boost for the city of Durban and South Africa as a whole.

Cruise ship terminal Durban

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“Having upgraded the existing cruise terminal over the past years to enhance the passenger experience, we are now looking forward to satisfying the growing demand by passengers to cruise from Durban even more, through the new cruise terminal which is to be developed for operation by the 2020/2021 cruise season,” she added.

“Durban is definitely deserving of this award and remains attractive due to its pleasant climate and beaches, cultural diversity, close proximity to the two World Heritage Sites, shore excursions, land programmes and promotion of wildlife experiences at nearby luxury game lodges,” added Nkowane.

TNPA is positioning Durban and Cape Town as stimulus cruise home ports, while other South African ports – Richards Bay, East London, Port Elizabeth and Mossel Bay – are also cruise destinations on global itineraries.

Port of Durban

Cruise tourists to Durban have grown 173% since 2010, the majority of them domestic tourists from Johannesburg and wider SA.

During 2017, 185 390 embarking and disembarking cruise passengers were processed through the Port of Durban during 56 vessel calls.

This represents a 173% increase in passenger numbers at the port over the last 10 years, from only 67,892 passengers and 39 vessel calls in 2007.

South Africa as a whole welcomed more than 20 cruise ships from 17 cruise lines to its six cruise ports during the 2017/18 cruise season, with all of them using Cape Town as a key turnaround port for the embarkation of passengers.

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

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