As the next cruise season approaches, the Western Cape is keen on capitalizing on the untapped potential of cruise tourism, an industry which, according to local officials, has only begun to show its value to the region’s economy.
This is despite a recent report that showed the most recent cruise season was the biggest on record in terms of passenger numbers and onshore spending, with 140,000 cruise tourists injecting more than R1.4 billion into the Western Cape economy.
Mireille Wenger, Western Cape’s minister of finance and economic opportunities, emphasized the significant interest the world has shown in the Western Cape, suggesting a promising future for cruise tourism.
“It is abundantly clear that the world wants to come to the Western Cape, and we want to get them here as easily and pleasantly as possible. Cruise tourism is already making a notable impact on the provincial economy and supporting numerous jobs,” she said during a recent press briefing.
Despite the evident success, Wenger believes that the province has merely scratched the surface of the vast potential cruise tourism holds, particularly for smaller port towns. Mossel Bay, for instance, could significantly benefit from the increased foot traffic and revenue brought in by cruise passengers. With an optimistic outlook for the 2023/24 cruise season, Wenger remarked, “At the end of the day, more tourists mean more jobs. The Western Cape Government is resolute in its mission to foster the kind of economic growth required to generate a plethora of jobs, combat poverty, and distribute prosperity throughout the province.”
Echoing Wenger’s sentiments, Alderman James Vos, City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for economic growth, highlighted the importance of the cruise travel market in achieving broader economic objectives. “The cruise travel market is a cornerstone in my mission to establish a tourism-related job in every household in Cape Town,” Vos stated.
He went on to elaborate on the multifaceted benefits of the industry. Not only does it boost revenue streams, but the sheer number of jobs it creates across different sectors is monumental. From hospitality to transport, numerous sectors stand to gain from a booming cruise tourism industry.
Recognizing the undeniable value and potential of this industry, the City of Cape Town has also stepped up its efforts to support and promote cruise tourism. “This is why the City proudly came to the table to support Cruise Cape Town,” Vos concluded.
With a united front from both the provincial government and the city’s leadership, there is heightened optimism about the region’s prospects in the cruise tourism sector. As stakeholders rally behind this mission, the upcoming cruise season might just be the turning point for the Western Cape, setting it on a trajectory to become one of the premier cruise destinations globally.