The MSC Orchestra has safely docked in Cape Town on Thursday, January 13 after it voluntarily suspended all its domestic sailings in South Africa in early December.
At the time of the suspension, the luxury cruise line indicated that the temporary ban was dictated by the cruise line’s industry-leading health and safety protocol in connection with the most recent sike in COVID-19 infections in the country.
However, now that cases have seemed to drop and Cape Town and the Western Cape is ready to welcome tourists, the ship will depart from the Port of Cape Town on Thursday around 8 pm and will make its way to the port of Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth), and then back to the Mother City on January 18.
According to a statement by Wesgro, the Western Cape’s Department of Economic Development and Tourism indicated that it has continued to work in partnership with industry bodies as well as the National Department of Tourism to ensure that the local industry proudly complies with globally aligned COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
“Through their ‘Destination Readiness’ drive, the Western Cape Government together with local municipalities has activated season readiness plans to ensure that tourists can travel safely and with confidence.
“Globally, the demand for cruising reflected a 20.5% growth in the last five years, with the Cape Town Cruise Terminal performing exceptionally well with 206 Cruise ships recorded over the last 5 cruise seasons (2015-2019),” the statement said.
⚓️ The MSC Orchestra has safely docked at the Cape Town Cruise Terminal🚢
The #CruiseCapeTown Initiative welcomes passengers ashore, and invites visitors to safely enjoy the breadth and depth of world-class experiences on offer in Cape Town & the Western Cape🏖️#GetInAGoodSpace pic.twitter.com/kdglSIz4kF
— Wesgro – Cape Town & the Western Cape (@Wesgro) January 13, 2022
Meanwhile, welcoming the arrival, CEO of the V&A Waterfront, David Green said: “MSC’s return gives confidence and good news for the tourism sector that we may still have a cruising season left of our summer. The cruise industry is one of the last sectors to resume operations and we’re excited and ready to safely welcome back local and international guests and crews to Cape Town. We expect that we can look forward to more operators resuming their operations to call into Cape Town for the 2022-2023 season, with a real prospect of us returning to our pre covid growth.”
The City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities James Vos also went on to say that the city will continue to work closely with partners across the public and private sector who share our goal of creating opportunity.
“A recent example is the official launch of Cruise Cape Town, a partnership between the City of Cape Town, Wesgro, Transnet National Ports Authority, the Western Province Department of Economic Development and Tourism, the V&A Waterfront, and the South African Maritime Safety Authority. The Mother City is fast gaining recognition as a prime destination for cruise liners and we want to capitalise on this,” Vos reiterated.
Picture: MSC cruises