Cape Town‘s 2023/24 cruise season has officially opened with the arrival of Vasco da Gama of Nicko Cruises, the first of 59 cruise calls for the city during the current season, while a further 18 cruise departures are scheduled.
The arrival of Vasco da Gama in Cape Town also marked the cruise line’s maiden call to the country, and officials from Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) and Cape Town cruise tourism officials were on hand for the traditional plaque exchange ceremony.
The 2023/24 cruise season looks set to be one of the busiest on record, building on the growth in passenger numbers and cruise calls seen during the previous season, which marked the full recovery of South Africa’s cruise sector following the COVID-19 disruption.
In six of South Africa’s seaports, 175 cruise calls are scheduled with 59 call-ins planned for Cape Town, 33 for Durban, 28 for Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), 25 for Richards Bay, 22 for Mossel Bay, and eight for East London.
It’s anticipated that as the season progresses, more vessels will be confirmed.
“As we start this season, together with our public and private sector partners, Cruise Cape Town – powered by Wesgro – is committed to continuing its cruise development efforts in the region,” said Wrenelle Stander, Wesgro CEO and official spokesperson for Cruise Cape Town.
“Building on the success of the previous season, which injected an estimated R1.2 billion into the Western Cape economy alone, the team is dedicated to facilitating continued sustainable growth, as we anticipate even greater achievements in the seasons to come,” he added.
David Green, CEO of V&A Waterfront, said: “The city is experiencing a rapid tourism recovery and it is the collective efforts of all the stakeholders in tourism promotion, products, and services that have continued to bear fruit, repeatedly placing Cape Town as a global destination of choice for travellers and creating opportunities for the sector.”
“As a manager of Africa’s best cruise terminal, the Waterfront, as always, is ready to give a warm welcome to cruise operators and visitors coming through our doors to enjoy the best of what South Africa has to offer,” said Green.
Cruise tourism has developed into an integral part of the Cape Town and wider Western Cape economy, with cruise passengers injecting hundreds of millions of rands into the local market annually.
When passengers come ashore to experience Cape Town, they invest by supporting local businesses, which creates tourism-related jobs.