Cruise industry expected to further boost Western Cape's economy in South Africa

CAPE TOWN, April 16 (Xinhua) -- The cruise industry made a substantial contribution to the Western Cape's economy in South Africa in the last fiscal year and is expected to bring more economic benefits with more jobs in the current year.

For the first time in history, two of the world's most renowned cruise liners, the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Victoria, made a historic simultaneous docking at the Port of Cape Town late last week.

The Queen Mary, after completing a 30-day voyage from Hong Kong, arrived in the Mother City for a turnaround call. This involved the departure of current passengers and the boarding of new ones for the upcoming voyage to New York in the United States. Along the same vein, the Queen Victoria made a brief stop before continuing its voyage to Walvis Bay, Namibia.

South African ports are currently benefiting from vessels avoiding the Red Sea as Yemen-based Houthi rebels target container, cruise and other ships that would normally use the Suez Canal to access or head back to Europe.

The cruise industry has emerged as a significant contributor to the Western Cape economy, with the 2022/23 season alone generating 1.2 billion rand (about 63 million U.S. dollars), according to Wesgro, the official tourism, trade, and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape. Each cruise ship visit translates into tangible economic benefits, with one full-time provincial job created for every 30 arriving cruise passengers.

The current 2023/24 season has recorded 65 confirmed ship visits, attracting an estimated 90,000 two-way passengers and 38,000 crew members. From an average of 35 to 40 cruise visits per season between 2016 and 2019, the port has seen a substantial increase, with 70 and 65 confirmed ship visits for the 2022/23 and 2023/24 cruise seasons, respectively, Provincial Minister for Finance and Economic Opportunities Mireille Wenger said in a media release published on Wesgro's website.

"This is great news because more tourists mean more jobs in the Western Cape province. With an expected 90,000 passengers in the 2023/24 cruise season, and based on Wesgro's estimates, we know that roughly 3,000 new permanent jobs have been created in this season alone," he said.

"As the Western Cape government, we will continue to partner with the private sector to continue on our path to enable the kind of breakout economic growth we need to help create many more jobs across this wonderful and sought-after province we proudly call home," Wenger added.

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