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South Africa

A cruise liner for Cape Town?  Oct 06, 2008

Without a multi-use cruise liner terminal, Cape Town is losing out on millions of rands in tourism revenue, say consultants appointed by the City of Cape Town to advise on a cruise liner strategy before the 2010 World Cup.

But there are proposals for the Cape Town International Convention Centre's extension to double as a cruise liner terminal for larger ships unable to berth at the V&A Waterfront.

David Gretton, of the city's economic and social development directorate, said in a report to the council's economic and development committee that the international cruise liner trade was worth $29-billion.

South African Tourism estimated that a cruise liner passenger spent six times more than the average tourist.

The industry was largely "untapped" in Cape Town. While there was agreement that it needed to be developed, no one was taking the initiative, Gretton said.

"The timing to initiate further work on this issue seems right, given that cruise liners will be chartered to accommodate visitors coming to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup."

While smaller cruise liners can be accommodated at the V&A Waterfront, larger liners have to use the cargo berths in Duncan Dock. In March, the Oriana liner had to berth at the inconvenient Eastern Mole because the berths used by large liners were occupied by container ships diverted from the container terminal.

Consultant Scott Lageux, of the US, and Mitchell du Plessis Projects found after extensive research that South Africa had the potential to develop a cruise liner industry in the next 15 years.

Cape Town, Durban and potentially Richard's Bay could be frequent "port-of-call" options for cruises.

But the consultants warned that "just building a terminal" would not be enough to attract the liners. Cruise operators were reluctant to establish cruises in the country because the ports were inaccessible.

The consultants advised the city council to commission a detailed cost-benefit study to assess the value of the industry and to link with other roleplayers. This process is to be driven by a city task team.

As cruise liner terminals do not generate much revenue, they are built as multi-use facilities, with exhibition halls, theatres and retail opportunities, to make more profit.

The report noted: "There are insufficient cruise liners visiting Cape Town to warrant the construction of a dedicated cruise liner terminal. According to KwaZulu-Natal Tourism's research, without facilities to cater for (them), cruise liners will not come to our shores."

The report said Cape Town and Durban, at least, should have dedicated terminals.

A cruise liner for Cape Town?
Aerial view of Cape Town /

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