Cruising into SA

How the cruise industry is opening new revenue streams for South African tourism

This week on ‘CNN Marketplace Africa’, the programme investigates the growth of cruise ship tourism in South Africa.

With 17 cruise companies currently servicing South Africa, host Eleni Giokos speaks to cruise lines and the ports who are both seeing the economic benefits of this upturn in traffic.

Christopher Rudolph, Brand Performance Director at MSC Cruises, explains what the appeal of a cruise holiday in Africa is, rather than travelling by road or air: “If you want to fly to Pomene, you have to go to Johannesburg, then Vilankulos and then you have a four-hour drive… [Cruises] are one of the best, you can get with great value for money. You’re on a resort hotel moving to new destinations offering exciting activities.”

Marketplace Africa follows the MSC Sinfonia as it departs from Durban – the largest port in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Moshe Motlohi, the Manager at Transnet Durban Port, outlines how the port can cater to tourists and tankers, alongside the benefits they’ve found as cruise tourism has increased: “It is the port that supports the economic activity of the country… Cruise tourism is the best performing around the world and South Africa has not been left behind. We have seen tremendous growth since we started. For example, last year there has been 22 percent growth on that business.”

This double-digit growth translates to over 200,000 tourists travelling through Durban’s port in 2016. Although this is a relatively small number when compared with the 10 million international tourists who visited South Africa, the country’s tourism board remains confident this number is only going to increase. Sisa Ntshona, the CEO of South Africa Tourism, tells Marketplace Africa “We want a mix of 10-15 percent from cruise line space, that’s about 1 million to 1.5 million international tourists, that will make a dent. As much as we have strategies to incentivise and promote airlines to fly into South Africa now we’re looking at cruise liner space to have them dock through here.”

CNN hears how MSC Cruises along with Africa Armada Consortium are spending nearly $18 million on a new cruise terminal that will unlock even more economic opportunities. Motlohi explains to Giokos: “[The new terminal] will be a ground-breaking business that will connect the cruise industry with local businesses…The transport industry is benefiting people on board of these vessels. They have to eat, and now local business that supply milk, eggs. Butter, fruit and everything… They are also beneficiaries of this.”

‘CNN Marketplace Africa’ airs Friday 2nd March at 17:15 SAST CNN International

The programme also airs at the following times:

Saturday 3rd March at 18:15 SAST

Sunday 4th March at 03:00 SAST and 09:15 SAST

Monday 5th March at 04:00 SAST and 19:45 SAST