The Port of Durban, operated by Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), has scooped the prestigious title of “Africa’s Leading Cruise Port 2018” in the 25th annual World Travel Awards.

The Africa & Indian Ocean gala awards ceremony took place at Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on Saturday, 6 October 2018, where the Port of Durban emerged victorious against other finalists including Kenya’s Port of Mombasa and Tanzania’s Ports of Dar Es Salaam and Zanzibar.

City Manager for eThekwini Municipality, Sipho Nzuza, accepted the award on behalf of TNPA.

Acting Durban Port Manager, Nokuzola Nkowane said: “We are delighted as the Port of Durban to have scooped the title of Africa’s Leading Cruise Port and would like to congratulate the other strong nominees in this category, which included two other ports operated by TNPA – Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.  Durban is already well entrenched as one of the busiest ports in Africa from a cargo perspective, but accolades like this demonstrate how versatile we are and most importantly show that the work we are doing to develop our cruise tourism sector has not gone unnoticed globally.”

Nkowane said that improving Durban’s global status as an attractive cruise destination would bring more international cruise lines and passengers to our shores, creating a big economic boost for the city of Durban and South Africa as a whole.

“Having upgraded the existing cruise terminal over the past years to enhance the passenger experience, we are now looking forward to satisfying the growing demand by passengers to cruise from Durban even more, through the new cruise terminal which is to be developed for operation by the 2020/2021 cruise season,” she added.

“Durban is definitely deserving of this award and remains attractive due to its pleasant climate and beaches, cultural diversity, close proximity to the two World Heritage Sites, shore excursions, land programmes and promotion of wildlife experiences at nearby luxury game lodges,” said Nkowane.

TNPA is positioning Durban and Cape Town as stimulus cruise home ports, while other South African ports – Richards Bay, East London, Port Elizabeth and Mossel Bay – are also cruise destinations on global itineraries.

Annual escalations in the number of visitors and liners have afforded TNPA, and the country at large, positive socio-economic spin-offs such as tourism development, job creation, skills development and supplier development.

In the calendar year 2017, 185 390 embarking and disembarking passengers were processed through the Port of Durban during 56 vessel calls. This represents a 173% increase in passenger numbers at the port over the last 10 years, from only 67 892 passengers and 39 vessel calls in 2007. Durban is used as a home port by MSC Cruises, which will introduce its MSC MUSICA vessel on the route in the 2018/19 season, following remarkable success with MSC SINFONIA sailing regionally over the last few years.

South Africa welcomed more than 20 luxury cruise ships operated by 17 international cruise lines to its six cruise ports during the 2017/18 cruise season. Through port concessions TNPA is also making it possible for private operators to use their expertise to ensure that South Africa earns its slice of the global luxury cruise sector, which is one of the fastest growing segments in the tourism industry.

Kwa Zulu Cruise Terminal Pty Ltd (KCT) – a Joint Venture between MSC Cruises SA (a subsidiary of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA) and Africa Armada Consortium (an empowered investment company) – has been granted a concession for the Design, Financing, Construction, Operation, Maintenance and Transfer of the new Cruise Terminal Facility for a 25 Year Concession Period in the Port of Durban.

Founded in 1993, the World Travel Awards seek to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry.

Other South African winners at the awards ceremony included:

  • Durban –Africa’s Leading City Destination 2018
  • Durban – Africa’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination 2018
  • Durban ICC – Africa’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre 2018
  • Cape Town Africa’s Leading Festival & Event Destination 2018
  • Cape Town International Airport – Africa’s Leading Airport 2018
  • South African Tourism – Africa’s Leading Tourist Board 2018

Hospitality winners included Hilton Hotels & Resorts (‘Africa’s Leading Hotel Brand), Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa (‘Africa’s Leading Boutique Hotel’), Hilton Durban (‘South Africa’s Leading Business Hotel’) and Legend Golf Resort & Spa, South Africa (‘Africa’s Leading Sports Resort’).

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