Cape Town looks set to benefit from increased cruise tourism revenue during the coming 2022/23 cruise season, according to Wesgro – the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape.
The agency, home to the Cruise Cape Town Initiative, which seeks to increase the cruise economy in the province, released impressive numbers that forecast a cash injection of at least R100 million.
The coming cruise season, which runs from October to April, has 104 cruise ship calls booked, with cruise ships carrying between 100 and 2,500 passengers due to either feature Cape Town as a port of call on various itineraries, or use the city as a homeport or turnaround port.
When a cruise ship homeports in the city, it sails a number of roundtrip itineraries from Cape Town that begin and end from the Cape Town Cruise Terminal near the V&A Waterfront. When they use the city as a turnaround port, they sail to the city and then take on new passengers for a cruise to a foreign port.
After the cancelled 2020/21 cruise season due to the pandemic, and the disastrous 2021/22 cruise season that was heavily impacted by the Omicron variant, the city is now on track to welcome more than 195,000 cruise tourists on 104 ship calls.
That’s a huge jump over the 16 ship visits made up of 12 cruise ships that ended up calling in, or cruising from, Cape Town during the previous season. That in itself was a significant drawdown on the 32 ship visitsthat were scheduled before Omicron.
“It’s an exciting time for the tourism sector in the province, as a number of recent indicators show pent-up travel demand finally being unleashed in a surge of bookings,” said Wrenelle Stander, Wesgro CEO and official spokesperson for the Cruise Cape Town Initiative.
“Cruise ships are a crucial part of the Western Cape tourism sector, injecting millions into the economy each year, and boosting investment into Cape Town and the Western Cape,” Stander added.
Cruise ships calls for the coming 2022/23 season
While there will be 104 cruise ship calls in total, some 43 of them will be roundtrip itineraries aboard cruise ships homeporting in Cape Town.
A total of eight cruise ships will homeport in Cape Town for at least part of the season.
These include AIDAaura, AIDAsol, Mein Schiff 3, Azamara Journey, Nautica, Seven Seas Voyager, and of course MSC Sinfonia and MSC Orchestra.
The other cruises will be grand voyages or separate itineraries within longer world cruise programs aboard five cruise ships, which doesn’t include the dozens of cruise ships that will be calling in Cape Town, but not using it as a turnaround port.
“The importance of the Cape Town cruise stopover to the tourism sector and marketing of the destination cannot be underestimated,” said David Green, CEO of the V&A Waterfront, who welcomed MSC Cruises’ decision to homeport in Cape Town and Durban earlier this year in spite of Omicron.
“The resumption of cruise this year, while largely local is a positive direction to a full recovery with real prospects of us returning to our pre covid growth with international travellers later this year,” he said.
“We have successfully integrated the Cruise Terminal into our service amenities such hotels, attractions, and retail offerings and we are eagerly looking forward to showcasing the best the waterfront has to offer,” he added.
Westgro said that it expects a cash injection of around R45 million from domestic passengers and R20 million from international passengers, particularly those boarding cruise ships that are homeporting in the country, as passengers tend to spend more on turnaround itineraries.