Durban cruise season shows bumper growth

30 May 2019 - Independent Online

The number of cruise passengers that passed through the Durban port this year shot up to nearly 30% compared to last year with data released by Transnet National Ports Authority showing a total of 255 422 embarkations and disembarkations at the port.This is up from 2017/18 season where 197 382 embarkations and disembarkations were recorded - a 29.4% jump.

According to TNPA, during the cruise season, which typically runs from late October to late April, the port enjoyed 63 calls by 16 different cruise vessels.

Acting Port Manager, Nokuzola Nkowane, said, “Our growth is largely due to MSC Cruises, which uses the Port of Durban as a home port. MSC Cruises had the larger MSC Musica offering her first cruises locally last season. She made 42 calls to the Port of Durban, representing the lion’s share of total embarkations and disembarkations recorded. However, we are proud to have also welcomed 12 other world-class operators to the port last season.”

Nkowane said TNPA and MSC Cruises’ investment into the Port of Durban was aimed at attracting more cruise line companies to Durban and indeed Southern Africa as a whole. Cruise liner itineraries are planned at least two years in advance and exciting local excursions are big drawcards, as are new cruise vessels promising a different experience, in addition to suitable port infrastructure.

Part of MSC Cruises success is keeping their offering fresh. Next season they will be introducing yet another of their vessels - the MSC Orchestra – enticing cruise tourists to return for their next adventure.

“The cruise industry is the fastest growing category in the leisure travel market, and with a projection of one million passengers by 2025, TNPA’s decision to build a dedicated cruise terminal in the port is well supported,” she said.

The KwaZulu Cruise Terminal (KCT) consortium, in which MSC is a partner, holds a 25-year port concession from TNPA to finance, construct, operate, maintain and transfer a new Cruise Terminal Facility in the Port of Durban at an estimated value of more than R200 million. KCT is presently finalising the detailed design of the Cruise Terminal Building and the anticipated commissioning of the project is 2020.

Nkowane said the Port of Durban would be working with partners to maintain its status as ‘Africa’s Leading Cruise Port’, as awarded at the 2018 World Travel Awards Africa and Indian Ocean segment. The port is a finalist again this year, with the winners set to be announced on Saturday, 1 June.

Source: Independent Online

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