Cruise tourism brings wave of economic opportunities to SA’s shores

Economic opportunities
3 min read

In recent years, the City of Cape Town has had the pleasure of welcoming numerous cruise ships to the city. The MS Queen Elizabeth and the MSC Musica luxury cruise liners docked at the Cape Town harbour on Friday.

The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Assets Management, Alderman James Vos, visited the cruise liners to personally extend a warm welcome on behalf of the City.

The Queen Elizabeth cruise liner is no stranger to the city’s shores and carries 2 068 passengers and 996 crew members.

The MSC Musica has 1 268 passenger cabins which can accommodate 2 550 passengers in double occupancy and is served by about 990 crew members.

‘Cape Town is fast becoming the preferred port of call for inbound and outbound international cruise travellers to South Africa. We had the honour of welcoming the Aida Aura from her world cruise last week and she was carrying 1 200 passengers and 390 crew members. Today, we welcome two cruise liners who have collectively brought in over 4 000 visitors to our shores. We trust they will enjoy the day in Cape Town and take time out to visit some of the city’s world-class tourist attractions,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Alderman James Vos.

The cruise industry has experienced significant growth from just 6 050 passengers in 2012, to 29 269 passengers in 2016, and 31 035 passengers in 2017. During the 2016/17 cruise season, approximately 19 vessels visited the Cape Town harbor. There is also a significant increase in local cruising along the South African coastline (Source: V&A Waterfront).

The cruise tourism industry has shown significant year-on-year growth and makes a substantial contribution not only to this city’s economy but to the South African economy at large.

‘This sector has the potential to grow even further with huge economic spin-offs for the city and its residents. I will work with our tourism partners and the V&A Waterfront to promote the city as a destination of choice globally for cruise tourism. For every 12 tourists visiting our shores, one job is created. We will continue to invest in tourism programmes and projects that drive demand and make business sense, as tourism sustains about 150 000 jobs in Cape Town,’ said Alderman Vos.

The recent construction of a dedicated cruise terminal, funded by the V&A Waterfront, has proven to be a worthwhile venture and it is already showing a massive return on investment. The City is proud to promote this as an economic driver.

Without a doubt, the cruise liner industry offers enormous potential for tourism growth. With the average daily tourist spend of between R501 – R1 000 (excluding accommodation), one can appreciate the boost this gives to our city’s economy.

The average spend by an international tourist per trip is R8 400 in-destination (while in Cape Town), and a R10 600 prepaid spend (before a traveller arrives on our shores).

The domestic average spend per trip is R1 280 and can be broken down as follows by purpose of travel:

R2 780 for business purposes
R2 290 for holiday visitors
R1 740 on medical expenses
R890 when visiting friends and relatives

Figures from Cape Town Tourism indicate that the projected value of the cruise tourism industry between 2017 and 2027 is estimated to be in the region of R220 billion.

Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, Councillor James Vos, said the cruise industry had the potential to provide substantial economic benefits. These economic benefits arise from a number of sources such as the spending power by cruise passengers and crew, the shoreside staffing by cruise liners for tour operations, the spending by cruise liners for goods and services necessary for cruise operations, and the spending for port services and maintenance.

‘Based on the number of confirmed bookings for the 2019/20 cruise season, we can already see a dramatic increase in the number of vessels due to visit our port and city,’ added Alderman Vos.