Cape Town tourism to cruise with new cruise liner terminal!

Excellent news to warm up a depressed tourism winter is the announcement in yesterday’s Cape Times that a new cruise liner terminal is finally being planned for Cape Town’s port.

Transnet owns the harbour, and last week called for ‘submissions of interest in the funding, construction and operation of a terminal’. The tender notice calls for interested parties to meet on 6 June, and submit their tenders by 29 June.

The poor state of the current temporary facilities for cruise line tourist embarkation in the Cape Town harbour has been heavily criticised, making it less attractive for cruise liners to call on Cape Town as a result.  Until January this year, cruise liners were preferring to dock in the V&A Waterfront, but a Department of Home Affairs directive forbade this due to security concerns for passengers visiting Cape Town. Since then the V&A Waterfront has been calling for support in getting the cruise liners back into its quays again, as it is good for their tenants’ business.  Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde has been working on the issue too, recently meeting the national Minister of Home Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who told him to call on national Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk, it being a tourism issue.  It was her department, however, which issued the directive as to the docking of cruise liners, and forbade the future docking in the V&A Waterfront. City of Cape Town Tourism, Events and Marketing Mayoral Committee member Grant Pascoe promised in January to address the cruise liner issue, but appears to not have done anything to date!

Some ships like the Queen Mary 2, which has visited twice in recent months, is too large to be accommodated in the V&A Waterfront, and therefore a new cruise liner terminal in the main port would be first prize.  It has been suggested that due to the relatively small number of cruise line visits to date, that the new cruise liner terminal be developed as a multifunctional venue, suitable for weddings and conferences too.  FEDHASA Cape Chairman Dirk Elzinga welcomed the news: ‘the hospitality industry would be delighted if a cruise liner terminal was built. It’s long overdue. At the moment the cruise liner facilities are non-existent. If there’s a good cruise terminal then operators will definitely do their best to bring more business to Cape Town‘, which would benefit Cape Town’s hotel industry.

One hopes that tenders for the development of the Cape Town cruise liner terminal will be found, despite the continued economic depression, even if it were to become a joint project between the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape government, as is the Cape Town International Convention Centre.  Cape Town is perfectly positioned to play a far greater role in cruise tourism, and currently is a shabby competitor to Durban, which harbour has developed good facilities to welcome cruise liner tourists to its city.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

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