LOOK: Over 100,000 tourists expected to visit Durban through new cruise terminal

The MSC Splendida docked at the Durban harbour in all its glory on Wednesday evening as the sun set on Durban. Picture: Jehran Naidoo / IOL

The MSC Splendida docked at the Durban harbour in all its glory on Wednesday evening as the sun set on Durban. Picture: Jehran Naidoo / IOL

Published Nov 23, 2023


More than 100,000 tourists are expected to pass through the gates of the newly inaugurated Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal in Durban over the course of next year, according to the eThekwini Municipality.

This was in response to their expectations and projections surrounding the new cruise terminal and the trajectory of the cruise industry in general.

President Cyril Ramaphosa descended on Durban on Wednesday evening for the launch of the glitzy event held at the new cruise terminal.

The official ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the launch of the Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal in Durban on Wednesday night. Picture: Supplied

Other government delegates, like Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan and Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga, were also in attendance.

Both Ramaphosa and the eThekwini Municipality said that the new terminal will help establish Durban as a major cruise destination for world travellers.

Municipal spokesperson Gugu Sisilana explained that in 2023, 61,840 cruise passengers from 25 cruise ships docked in the Durban and Richards Bay ports.

This figure is expected to double in 2024, with 120,307 passengers disembarking from 51 cruise ships.

“Durban is a strategically located destination with a newly developed cruise terminal and capable of accommodating large cruise ships and associated activities. The launch of the cruise season comes at a time when we are busy with the expansion project at the Port of Durban.

“Indirectly, it also helps local communities where the ship docks, as they benefit tremendously through the sale of cultural artefacts, souvenirs, food, etc. Planned cruise liner calls are expected to dramatically increase this season, from 16 vessels last season to 70 this season. The increase in cruise vessel calls is set to significantly boost eThekwini Municipality’s economy and showcase Durban as a premier tourist destination,” Sisilana said.

On Wednesday night, during his keynote address, President Ramaphosa indicated that the Western Cape economy grew by R1.2 billion as a result of the cruise liner business and said he hoped for higher numbers for Durban.

“The launch of the Nelson Mandela MSC Cruise Terminal is more than a milestone.

“Last year was a boon for the local cruise tourism industry. The concession period was aligned to the capital investment to be made by the terminal operator. The total investment value amounts to R298 million for the terminal,” Ramaphosa said.