Cruise ships arrive in Cape Town despite Omicron concerns
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While the tourism sector is in panic over closed borders because of the Omicron variant, the cruise industry has confirmed they open for business with passenger ship from Europe expected to dock on Tuesday.
In a media statement from Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) said Cape Town port confirmed that it has officially opened the cruise season.
According to the authority, Cape Town welcomed its first cruise vessel, MV Europa on Tuesday since the prohibition of cruise and passenger ships was enforced in March last year when the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
The sip left Spain on November 12 and docked at various ports including Walvis Bay, Namibia. And is set to leave Cape Town on Friday.
Lorraine Mabindisa, acting corproate affairs manager of TNPA, said Cape Town was scheduled to receive vessels from Walvis Bay and Luderitz along the Namibian coast, Gough Island and Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic.
“The Cape Town Cruise Terminal is planned to handle 29 ships, booked to arrive from November 30 to May 2022,” said Mabindisa.
South Africa’s two major ports, Cape Town and Durban are dedicated world class cruise terminal.
Tshepo Ramonyaluoe, Cape Town’s acting port manager at TNPA, said: “Cruise tourism has a significant economic impact, contributing substantially to local, regional and national economies. Therefore, the resuming of cruise tourism is a much-needed economic boost.
“The local economy's main revenues from the cruise industry includes and is not limited to crew and passenger ashore spending, shore excursions and tours as well as vessel supplies and services.”
Cruise liners scheduled to call in Cape Town this season include MSC Cruises, Ponant, Azamara, Silversea Cruises, Regent, Crystal Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd.
Ramonyaluoe added that statistics from the Port of Cape Town have shown solid growth in cruise shipping volumes before the Covid-19 pandemic.
“TNPA continues to explore ways to accommodate the steady growing demand and be of support to the cruise industry.
“As one of the most beautiful ports in the world, the Port of Cape Town is open and ready to safely welcome cruise passengers to Cape Town and the Western Cape.”