PRESS STATEMENT

29/02/2016

For Immediate Release 

MEDIA RELEASE

Re:Durban to Accelerate Cruise Industry Growth at Cruise Summit

Durban needs to focus on growing cruise tourism to both boost visitor numbers and spend and to facilitate enterprise development and job creation. In light of this, eThekwini Maritime Cluster (EMC) in partnership with eThekwini Municipality will be hosting a Cruise Conference following the fruitful inaugural first Annual Durban Maritime Summit. 

Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Economic Development and Planning Committee, Cllr Nomvuzo Shabalala, said that the summit, which will take place aboard the MSC Sinfonia between 4 and 7 March, is intended to bring together key stakeholders in the industry with a view to stimulate growth in what has already proven to be an important segment of the tourism sector in Durban. 

“The cruise summit will not only look into the background to the cruise industry and how it forms part of initiatives to transform the City into a Smart Port City as explored during the Summit but also look at critical issues such as the proposed new cruise terminal, how this will interface with Durban’s Point Waterfront, how the cruise industry is changing and what Durban needs to do to grow its cruise market share,” Shabalala said. 

At present, delays to the construction of a new cruise terminal posed a challenge to the growth of the local cruise industry. In January, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) announced that its latest Request for Proposals for the development of a new passenger terminal had ended in a non-award. 

Richard Vallihu, Chief Executive at TNPA voiced concern that the lack of bids for the project, which might indicate that there is currently limited appetite in the market for a private player to pursue this project. However, TNPA intends embarking on a third open bid process within six months and will also review the scope of the project.

TNPA’s existing cruise terminal – situated at N Shed - was recently upgraded to bring it in line with international standards.

Ms, Thato Tsautse, Managing Director of the EMC, said that she believed that engagement during the cruise summit would clear the way not only for progress on the cruise terminal project but also for wider initiatives to grow this aspect of port related business for the good of both the port and the people of Durban. 

Extensive research into the cruise industry has revealed that, globally, this is one of the fastest growing segments of the overall tourism market. 

Recognising the potential of the cruise tourism industry to contribute to growing tourism in KwaZulu-Natal and in Durban in particular, eThekwini Municipality appointed Grant Thornton to conduct an assessment of the cruise industry value chain in 2014.

Tsautse said she believed that the cruise summit would go one step further and translate the valuable repository of research into specific goals and actions that needed to be taken to ensure that Durban became a far larger point on the world cruise tourism map. 

According to Grant Thornton, the Durban cruise industry is estimated to account for 2 700 jobs in the tourism sector. Direct spend of the Durban cruise industry for 2013 was approximately R1.38 billion (of which passenger spend accounted for R1.3 billion) pointing to exciting growth opportunities. 

The Grant Thornton study reiterated that cruise tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing tourist activities, enjoying dynamic growth over the past 30 years. It also highlighted that there was increased demand for new cruise destinations and increased interest in African cruise destinations in particular. 

According to the SA Cruise Tourism Study, cruise passenger throughput could increase to one million passengers by 2025. Durban and Cape Town are expected to achieve the highest market share with Durban attracting as many as 470 000 passengers by 2025.

Shabalala said that cruise tourism had been identified as one of the most crucial tourism niche markets for the City. “Durban and KwaZulu-Natal as a whole is a perfect cruise destination as it has a broad offering of prospective destinations for cruise passengers. We not only need to engage with stakeholders in the industry to look at how we can grow this market, but add this to our extensive marketing efforts to showcase Durban as one of the world’s most liveable cities.” 

ENDS

Issued by eThekwini Municipality’s Communications Head, Tozi Mthethwa.

Gugu Mbonambi on 0313114855 or email:gugu.mbonambi@durban.gov.za


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