SA Cruise News

Cape Town looks to grow cruise tourism numbers during 2023/24 season

Cape Town is preparing for a bumper cruise season for 2023/24 with more ships and cruise passengers expected as the cruise industry recovers from the disruption caused by the pandemic.

The cruise industry’s recovery, and the return of cruise ships to Cape Town specifically, is important to the city as cruise tourism alone contributed more than R300 million to the local economy last year.

Cape Town is now looking to use its cruise ship terminal at the V&A Waterfront as a tourist magnet and engine of economic growth.

Cape Town Cruise Terminal

At the Cruise Tourism Workshop hosted last week by South African Tourism, plans were discussed to enhance cruise line outreach to target cruise lines that are yet to add the city as either a homeport during the annual winter cruise season, or turnaround port on their grand voyages.

“Cape Town had an excellent visitor season this past summer,” said James Vos, head of economic development for Cape Town.

“We are looking to build on this growth, exceeding those figures, and realising our goal of creating a tourism-related job in every household,” he added.

Cape Town welcomed more than 145,000 passengers aboard 70 ships during the 2022/23 cruise season, but anticipates further growth this year as more passengers return to cruising globally, and due to Cape Town’s enhanced air connectivity.

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is South Africa’s primary cruise port, but is second to Durban when it comes to the domestic cruise market.

The city instead is the lead port for international fly-cruise passengers, who sail aboard AIDA Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Azamara, Silversea and others who homeport in the city annually.

The South African cruise season runs from November to March every year, during the South African summer, when its primary cruise source markets North America and Europe are looking to escape the winter.

“Through tourism we can continue to economically empower communities while showcasing and sharing South Africa’s rich culture, natural beauty, adventure, luxury, and heritage with visitors,” said Vos.

“Having this workshop on cruise tourism adds this sector to our list and helps highlight its benefits to Cape Town’s economy,” he added.

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