South African ports woo cruise industry
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South African ports woo cruise industry

Delegation showcases cruise terminal at Seatrade Cruise Conference

The South African Safety Maritime Authority (SAMSA) is leading a delegation of 10 organisations exhibiting at the Seatrade Cruise Global conference, the cruise industry’s most significant worldwide event, in Florida, USA, this week in a bid to attract more cruise ships and liners to South Africa.

The 140m2 South African Pavilion at Seatrade is showcasing the offerings of the KZN Cruise Terminal, the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town Cruise Terminal and Durban Tourism. The Eastern Cape Provincial Government and the Department of Trade and Industry are also participating.

South Africa’s share of the global cruise market is estimated at less than 1 percent and SAMSA acting CEO Sobantu Tilayi says that the investment in Seatrade aims to to showcase the full range of South Africa’s offering as a cruise destination.

“The cruise tourism industry is the only growth area in the broader maritime shipping sector. It is envisaged to double in size over the next eight to 10 years with all the order books of the shipping yards full until 2027. But while the global cruise industry is growing exponentially, South Africa is not reaping its full share of the benefits.

“Our share of the market is miniscule and this is mainly due to lack of infrastructure and lack of action. South Africa has rectified the infrastructure issue through the development of two world class terminals in Cape Town and Durban. Now SAMSA is proactively marketing South Africa as a cruise destination.”

Tilayi says SAMSA had opted to take the lead and manage South Africa’s presence at Seatrade because it was determined to fulfill its mandate to promote South Africa’s maritime interests.

“There is a lot of opportunity to create jobs and to grow the maritime economy. Unfortunately, South Africa has not fully exploited these opportunities. SAMSA is determined to accelerate the process by, among other things, ensuring South Africa is prominent at all the necessary global gatherings, such as Seatrade, and by building on our Ships Register, which we have also been actively doing,” he says.

Tilayi says SAMSA is confident SA’s presence at Seatrade will communicate that South Africa is open for business as a cruising destination.

“South Africa has a world-class cruise offering, but we have not communicated that effectively in the past. We are rectifying that oversight with our presence at Seatrade. We are saying to the world, Come to South Africa; it really is a world in one country. And it is your loss if you never visit.”

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