SA cruise sea­son is un­der full steam

The Mercury - - NEWS -

THE South African 2017/18 cruise sea­son launched yes­ter­day with the ar­rival of the first in­ter­na­tional cruise liner, MSC Sin­fo­nia, at the Port of Dur­ban.

Car­ry­ing 2 300 Euro­pean and South African pas­sen­gers, the ves­sel ar­rived on a 23-day itin­er­ary from Venice in Italy and was wel­comed with a tug spray, marimba band and tra­di­tional dancers.

Transnet Na­tional Ports Author­ity’s (TNPA) Port of Dur­ban man­ager, Moshe Mot­lohi said Dur­ban is sched­uled to re­ceive 13 cruise lin­ers this sea­son – up from eight which called at the port dur­ing the 2016/ 17 sea­son.

“It gives us great plea­sure to wel­come MSC Cruises and MSC SIN­FO­NIA back to her South African home port each year. We are also de­lighted to wel­come some new op­er­a­tors and ves­sels to the port this sea­son.

“Th­ese 13 ves­sels rep­re­sent 11 cruise line com­pa­nies that have shown con­fi­dence in Dur­ban as a route this sea­son,” he added.

TNPA said in a state­ment that the lux­ury cruise sec­tor is one of the fastest grow­ing seg­ments in the tourism in­dus­try and has the po­ten­tial to grow the econ­omy and cre­ate jobs.

In­ter­na­tion­ally the cruise mar­ket has grown from 5 mil­lion pas­sen­gers to over 20 mil­lion pas­sen­gers over the last 17 years.

In­crease

Pas­sen­ger num­bers at the Port of Dur­ban have grown from 171 510 in 2015 to 209 712 in 2016, an in­crease of 22%.

Mot­lohi said TNPA was at the tail end of ne­go­ti­a­tions and would shortly fi­nalise its Ter­mi­nal Op­er­a­tor Agree­ment with KwaZulu Cruise Ter­mi­nal Pty Ltd (KCT) – a Joint Ven­ture be­tween MSC Cruises SA (a sub­sidiary of MSC Mediter­ranean Ship­ping Com­pany SA) and Africa Ar­mada Con­sor­tium (a black em­pow­er­ment part­ner) – which was an­nounced as the pre­ferred bid­der for de­sign, fi­nanc­ing, con­struc­tion, op­er­a­tion, main­te­nance and trans­fer of the new cruise ter­mi­nal fa­cil­ity for a 25-year con­ces­sion pe­riod in the Port of Dur­ban.

MSC has also se­cured a new des­ti­na­tion in North­ern Mozam­bique to in­clude in its re­gional cruise sched­ule. The South African cruise sea­son typ­i­cally runs from late Oc­to­ber/ early Novem­ber to early May. – Mer­cury Re­porter

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