Talking Tourism: Cruise Tourism

Guest post by Michael Bertram, CEO of Ugu South Coast Tourism

I receive many email replies to my column “Talking Tourism”, which is particularly rewarding. These mails include many from local students; like one who recently asked me my views about “cruise tourism”.

The standard response is normally “Cruise tourism is just like any other tourism although it involves cruise ships. It is a great way to expose a countries beauty and culture and also a nice way to travel the world giving tons of jobs and employment to places that it visit, mostly are port of calls”.

Students, by their very nature as inquisitive creatures and always have follow-up questions. Such as how big is the market, how are we going to access this growing sector and most importantly what is in it for us? 

Interesting questions; having attended several meetings over the past few years; my interest peaked once again. History is never as straight-forward as it would seem.

The National Department of Tourism identified Cruise Tourism as a niche tourism product with the potential to accelerate growth of the tourism sector. A study conducted in 2009 which included four coastal cities and the Minister of Tourism; Mr Marthinus Van Schalkwyk stated “We need investment in port facilities. We want to be part of this industry as tourists, working on board and as operators.” 

The official SA Cruise Tourism Report, which covered the prospects, benefits and strategies for the industry, noted that the return on public sector funding would be an estimated R14.81 for every R1 spent in terms of a medium passenger forecast of more than 400 000 by 2025. For low and high passenger forecasts (of 200 000 and almost 1 million, respectively) the returns would be R11.49 and R48.83, respectively. But the report stated: “If international passenger numbers do not materialise as envisaged then the project is not viable from a South African perspective.”  

For all our students reading please note that “Public sector funding includes investments in new passenger terminals at ports and marketing ofSouth Africato cruise liners”. 

The economic benefits are far reaching and include port charges, spending by international crew, earnings by local crew and spending by the ship operator. The contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to increase from R682m in 2010 to R1.3 billion in 2025. It is estimated that the cumulative contribution to GDP by 2025 will be R14bn.  

According to the International Journal of Leisure and Tourism Marketing (Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 205-226) “cruise tourism has been the fastest growing sector of the travel industry for the past twenty years with an average annual growth rate of passengers of 7.4%. It has increased at almost twice the rate of growth of tourism overall and this growth is expected to continue in the future”. 

Questioned about the status of the cruise terminal plan forDurbanharbour during a tour of the port during February 2012, Mr. Hamilton Nxumalo, head of infrastructure at Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA), said “No decision has been made, despite a pre-feasibility study having been undertaken… We are spending about R21.3 billion in upgrades to theDurbanPortover the next seven years, which is part of the R300bn infrastructure spending plan”. Nxumalo added “Transnet was looking for a partner to invest in the cruise terminal development either as a public-private partnership or some sort of joint venture. It will cost anything upwards of R800m. But we are yet to put out tenders calling for expressions of interest from possible partners or investors”.

MSC Starlight Cruises, reported early this year that it had already carried more than 100 000 passengers on the MSC Sinfonia and MSC Melody for the present SA summer; Stefano Vigoriti, a director of MSC Cruises, said a plan needed to be finalised and construction under way by 2013 adding ““Insufficient infrastructure for cruise tourism in Durban won’t stall growth for now… But, it could inhibit growth in the future and business could go elsewhere”.

Ships such as the Queen Mary 2, which has visitedCape Towntwice in recent months, is too large to be accommodated in the V&A Waterfront, and therefore a new cruise liner terminal in the main port would be first prize.  It has been suggested that due to the relatively small number of cruise line visits to date, that the new cruise liner terminal be developed as a multifunctional venue, suitable for weddings and conferences too.  Transnet, has called for ’submissions of interest in the funding, construction and operation of a terminal’ (tenders are due by 29 June forCape Town).  One hopes that tenders for the development of theCape Towncruise liner terminal will be found, despite the continued economic depression.

It would appear thatSouth Africais particularly well positioned to leverage good growth off this niche market as we are now part of the Cruise Indian Ocean Association (CIOA) check out . – for more information –  clearly this is one area that we must develop our infrastructure now. 

Have a great week in the tourism industry. 

Book now for the Uthando (Love)South AfricaBenefit Concert inCape Town

One week to go! Be part of this exciting, proudly South African event – ensemble of people befitting the commemorations of the young children who died onthe 16th of June 1976. 

And if you’ll have clients inCape Townnext weekend – do book for them. 

This is going to be a classy event featuring:

Siv Ngesi (renowned South African comedian) as Master of Ceremonies.

Opening and guest appearance by The Gugulethu Tenors.

Incredible talent from our township youth: more than 120 top class performers.

Ten ofCape Town’s most innovative community development projects showcasing their programmes.

Appearance by renownedCape Townmusicians Kubu Strings.

Every cent raised will be used to support the projects and the people who perform.

Date:Saturday, 16 June, 2012 

Time:12:00 p.m.(doors open at11:00)

Bookings: The Barnyard Theatre, Willowbridge 

About Uthando:

Uthando (Love) South Africa is a unique and innovative non profit company accredited with Fair Trade in Tourism. It aims to raise funds and other forms of assistance for community development projects inSouth Africa.

Uthando also offers authentic, uplifting, fun, inspirational, interactive, and meaningful experiences for independent travellers as well as groups of any size in the sprawling and impoverished townships ofCape Town.  

Now go away on holiday – it’s in the economy’s best interests.
… And in the meantime… have a GREAT tourism week!
Martin Hatchuel
– BarefootWriter

Want To Advertise to more than 10,000 names in the Tourism Industry? Want to tap into the power of internet marketing? Want to speak to my audience? Mail me – – and let’s see how This Tourism Week can work for you.
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BarefootClients provides communications services (copy writing, advertising, printing and that kind of stuff) as well as strategy planning and creative thought for select clients who share our Barefoot On The Beach approach to business.

It’s simple. We believe that successful marketing creates relationships – friendships – between businesses and their customers. Our job is to help you develop these friendships with your clients: to make them so comfortable with you that they’ll happily walk Barefoot On The Beach with you … Because business works best between friends. That’s the BarefootBenefit.

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About This Tourism Week

This Tourism Week – a free service brought to you by – is a personal e-letter and informed commentary on issues affecting South Africa’s tourism industry. Please note that the articles in This Tourism Week may only be reproduced with permission (want it? Mail me –

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Martin Hatchuel,
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PO Box 2690, Knysna
Cell +27(0)84 951 0574
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