Historically South Africa’s main port, Cape Town has a long history of welcoming ships and passenger liners to its shores. On Tuesday, January 24, 2012, the Queen Mary 2 berthed at Duncan Dock in Cape Town Harbour, after a brief stop in Swakopmund, Namibia. The RMS Queen Mary 2 is on its world cruise, which commenced in Southampton on January 10. After Cape Town, its next port of call is Durban on January 28, from where the ship will go to Mauritius and then across the Indian Ocean to circumnavigate Australia, before heading to Rabaul en route to Japan.
The RMS Queen Mary 2 is one of the biggest passenger liners in the world with a capacity for 1250 crew and 3000 passengers per trip. Luxury ocean liners such as these are literally maritime resorts where meals, activities and entertainment are all included.
Globally, cruise liner tourism is a fast-growing niche within the tourism industry. It is said that over the past thirty years the cruise industry has grown tremendously in developed nations. In 2008, the City of Cape Town commissioned an analysis of cruise market trends and a strategy on this sector for Cape Town. It concluded that there were many opportunities over the long term for Cape Town, and South Africa, to welcome increased levels of cruise tourism.
Increasing cruise tourism to Cape Town would mean that the city would not only benefit from the associated spending by cruise passengers and crew, but also spend on operations, goods and maintenance at Cape Town Harbour. The cruise liner industry is considered to be a sustainable form of tourism and has a significant role to play in the welfare and quality of life for those working in the field, as well as those involved in initial infrastructural developments and supply chains. According to the research undertaken in 2008, the prospects for the future of cruise tourism in South Africa are excellent as the market continues to develop in emerging markets.
Grant Pascoe, Mayoral Committee Member for Tourism, Events and Marketing, says “Cape Town would like to extend a warm welcome to the travelers and crew aboard the RMS Queen Mary 2. Cruise tourism is one of the niche areas that the City of Cape Town has identified as an area of mid to long-term growth. The cruise sector has the right credentials for developing environmentally and socially sustainable tourism and we are committed to working with all industry and government players to provide an easily accessible, welcoming and efficient port of entry to our city”.
Says Skye Grove, Communications Manager, Cape Town Tourism: The global demand for tourist cruises has been growing at a very strong pace, accounting for robust annual growth of 8% over more than 20 years. More than sixteen million people take annual cruise holidays internationally; stimulating tourism activities and economic growth in berthing ports and communities. A number of the passengers on the Queen Mary 2 will disembark at Cape Town and extend their stay in our city, joining thousands of international visitors that are in Cape Town for the international peak tourism season during January and February.”