Red flags raised for new cruise terminal

Cape Town – Just under a year ago Transnet announced a multi-billion-rand plan to build a dedicated cruise liner terminal in Cape Town but now a study done by the City says it may not be financially viable. 

The cruise terminal issue started back in 2012 when Cape Town’s cruise tourism received a knock after the Department of Home Affairs banned cruise liners longer than 200m from berthing at the Waterfront.

Ships are currently only allowed to dock at the distant and rather unattractive E and J berths at Duncan Dock. 

Transnet put out a tender for a 20-year contract about a year ago, for the construction of a dedicated terminal, expected to include special arrival and departure facilities as well as take visitors closer to the tourist attractions of the V&A Waterfront.

IOL reports, despite the findings of a study done by the City of Cape Town's tourism, events and marketing directorate which indicates the cruise passenger numbers might not be enough to validate the investment – Transnet says it is going ahead with its plans.

Dr Theuns Vivian, of the city's tourism, events and marketing directorate, says “a related terminal would stand idle for part of the year, having little value”.

South Africa’s cruise season runs from October to April and while activity has increased in the past 10 years, and passenger volumes had doubled globally, he said South Africa accounts for only 0.6 percent of overall passenger activity.

Vivian said in the report that since local cruises, with South African passengers, accounted for almost half of the activity to the city, " contributions to the travel and leisure industry were limited".

Yet the upcoming cruise season expects about 38 vessels with about 42 000 passengers to arrive in Cape Town and an additional 18 vessels are scheduled for the 2014/15 season.

According to the report, Vivian says the marked seasonality of cruising requires an increase in Cape Town being featured on international cruise lines and a terminal facility that can be used for other purposes during long periods of low or no cruise passenger usage. The issue caused by strong summer winds during the peak cruising period in the city were also cause for concern.  

In response to Vivian’s cautionary findings, Western Cape MEC Alan Winde said the City was working on the Cape Town International Convention Centre and that bidders would be factoring the off-peak period into their due diligence as well as including proposals of how the facility could be used throughout the year.

Winde has consistently shown support for the idea, previously stating it brought more than 10 000 visitors to the province each year and generated an estimated R200m for the local economy.

Mayor Patricia de Lille has also voiced support for the sector’s economic importance, following the results of the Cruise Terminal study saying, “We believe is is essential to growing the tourism market and, as a result, job creation in Cape Town”.

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Mc Segal 2014/08/13 06:32:30 PM
Well what have visa rules to do with this then??
Lydon Daniel McGrane 2014/08/14 10:47:21 AM
Cape Town isn't going to be taken seriously as a cruise destination without formal facilities. The best route would be building a multi-functional venue. That way the local cruise industry can develop and the venue would make financial sense.
Gert Steenkamp 2014/08/14 10:52:31 AM
Preparing a cruiseliner terminal will be of great advantage for tourism in SA in particular for Cape Town. People are not aware of the amount of cruise ships sailing the seas of the world and would like to include Cape Town on their itinary, Also include SA on their around the world cruises. The reason it is not done at present is the lack of docking facilaties. 2010 world cup was excellent example where 3 cruise ships was booked by european countries to sail to SA. 2 of those ships were cancelled due to lack of docking facilities and also because the authoroties would not allow these ships to stay docked in SA during the soccer games. Do they know how much they lost in docking fees not even to mention the amount of money these tourists would have spent in this country. SO Transnet dont worry about the shortsighted people , go ahead prepare these terminals and prove them wrong.