Cape Town is set to become a central point of cruising in South Africa, according to MSC Cruises, which wants to make the city the home port at which its cruises start and finish, fantastic news for local tourism players. Cruise tourism could make an important contribution to the growth of tourism to South Africa, according to the Department of Tourism.
Cruise tourism is of such importance that Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk is commenting on it, and said “we will work very closely with the cruise line industry to ensure that packages and excursions are developed and passengers are encouraged to visit our shores, enjoy what we have on offer and inspire other travellers to also visit South Africa.” He encouraged the cruise line industry to take responsibility in providing quality service and infrastructure, says a report in the Weekend Argus. A study had been conducted on cruise tourism.
MSC Cruises is the main cruise line company in southern Africa, and is planning to expand its service. In the past the company used Durban as its home port, but the popularity of Cape Town amongst its passengers had made the company decide to move it to Cape Town on a trial basis.
The problem with Cape Town is that it does not have satisfactory cruise tourism infrastructure in the Cape Town harbour. Minister van Schalkwyk said that his department would consult with industry bodies as to how to “address constraints, facilitate passenger transit, encourage cruise passengers to visit port cities and the surrounding areas, and ultimately increase economic opportunities for communities in and around coastal cities.”
MSC Cruises has brought back the MSC Sinfonia, and would be adding the MSC Melody for its southern African operation, said Stefano Vigoriti, MD of MSC Cruises in South Africa. The company said that it would do its best to make Cape Town the centre of the local cruise industry.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage