The Western Cape in South Africa saw its best cruise season on record during 2022/23, with more port calls, passenger numbers and revenue than any past season.
During the most recent cruise season, 70 cruise ship calls carrying 145,000 passengers and 42,000 crew members injected more than R1.2 billion into the local Western Cape economy, and created 1,800 new direct jobs.
The study shows that the cruise industry is also continuing to grow in Cape Town and that for every 30 arriving cruise passengers, one full-time job is created.
For any cruise destination, homeport itineraries and turnaround port calls are the most sought after, and Cape Town benefited from several dozen of these during the season, along with five days on which three cruise ships were in port simultaneously.
According to Western Cape tourism officials, this underscores the high demand for the destination while also demonstrating Cape Town’s ability to manage the logistical requirements of such an occasion thanks to the newly renovated Cape Town Cruise Terminal.
The success of the season was further demonstrated by Mossel Bay’s cruise season, with the Port of Mossel Bay welcoming 14 cruise ship visits, nearly doubling the number achieved over the course of the 2019 season.
After South Africa’s 2019/2020 and 2020/21 cruise seasons were devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022/23 season has now established a significant benchmark against which future cruise tourism contributions to the economy will be gauged.
“Against the dramatic backdrop of Table Mountain, Cape Town is one of the world’s most attractive ports to sail into, and the Cape Town Cruise Terminal serves as the marine gateway to Africa,” said David Green, CEO, V&A Waterfront.
“We have managed to successfully integrate the Cruise Terminal into our service amenities such as hotels, attractions, and retail offerings…all of which have enhanced the desirability of the port and Cape Town as a destination for cruise lines,” he added.
According to data from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), 63% of cruise passengers are likely to revisit a destination they’ve first encountered through a cruise ship, signaling potentially profound implications for tourism in Cape Town and the Western Cape.