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Monday Sep 12, 2016

V&A Waterfront wins cruise terminal bid

Cape Town's cruise industry, which generates about R200 million annually for the local economy, is set for a major boost with news the V& A Waterfront has been awarded preferred bidder status by the Transnet National Ports Authority for an estimated R179m investment.

This would cover the construction and operation of a dedicated cruise terminal, according to a statement yesterday from DA tourism spokesman James Vos.

In 2012 Transnet announced a multi-billion-rand plan to build a dedicated cruise liner terminal here, but the tender application process hit several snags, slowing it down.

Controversy over the need for such a terminal was sparked when the Home Affairs Department banned cruise liners longer than 200m from berthing at the Waterfront.

Yesterday Vos told delegates attending the Tourism, Hotel Investment and Networking Conference, THINC Africa that investment was essential in respect of products and infrastructure that ensured South Africa's tourism landscape remained "innovative and attractive to visitors".

Some of these investments, he said, would be directed to niche sectors with high growth potential, such as the cruise industry.

This industry also generated significant "spillover economic benefits" for ground handling services, bunkering and ship repair. It was also an example of public-private partnership to "diversify product offerings and pursue new avenues of growth".

Vos said the global growth in outbound tourism had presented South Africa with a "magnificent window of opportunity". But that growth potential didn't happen just because conditions were favourable.

"We have to work together to make it happen," he said, adding that the cruise industry was big business.

Conservative estimates were that it drew about 10 000 visitors to the province annually, generating about R200m for the local economy.

"The V& A Waterfront's vision for the cruise terminal is to scale the retail offering up or down in response to demand, in addition to baggage handling services, immigration desks and infrastructure and customs facilities.

"Plans for upgrades to the existing facility are currently being finalised," he added.

Vos said such a dedicated cruise- liner infrastructure could also serve as a platform on which to develop other port facilities, which could impact positively not only on Cape Town, but also the national economy "through an increase in maritime trade and cruise tourism".

Weekend Argus (Saturday Editiion)




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