Cape Town Harbour: Cruise Terminal upgrade
Passengers disembarking from the German luxury liner Europa recently received a warm welcome at Cape Town’s Cruise Terminal in E Berth at the Port of Cape Town, marking the first arrival of the 2016/17 season.
In December 2015, the Transnet National Ports Authority handed over the operation of the Terminal to the V&A Waterfront, as the preferred bidder of a Terminal Operator agreement.
The 20-year Terminal Operator Agreement (TOA) covers both the 23,407m2 land and building area, as well as phased upgrades of the 8292m2 building. The existing portion of the building housing the Cruise Terminal was upgraded by the V&A Waterfront in time for the 2015/16 cruise season, and measures 4777m².
Initial upgrades included reception and waiting areas, baggage handling services and immigration and customs facilities, as well as infrastructure.
The majority of ships calling carry under 1,000 passengers, although the number can vary between 200 and 3,000. Given the reality of the seasonality of the cruise industry, the V&A Waterfront intends to develop and run the terminal building as a multi-use facility to bring activity year round.
According to V&A Waterfront CEO David Green, the initial upgrade was focused primarily on enhancing the experience for these visitors: “The Cruise Terminal represents our first opportunity to welcome visitors to Cape Town, so it is important that their first impression is a good one. From international experience, we know that the cruise line industry offers enormous potential for tourism growth, so our intention is to ensure that we extend the V&A Waterfront experience to the terminal.
“The experience we gained from operating the Terminal over the 2015/16 season has enabled us to gauge the size of the industry, as well as the space required to house the various Government departments, as well as the ships agents who attend to passengers,” said Green
Today, a further R37-million investment was announced that will see a facade upgrade to ensure that the Cruise Terminal can match international standards. The two floors immediately above the Terminal portion have remained largely untouched and will now be developed to accommodate a restaurant and events space. The investment of phase one and phase two totals R50-million.
Plans to deal with the remaining space are currently being tested and will be announced as the next phase of development.
During the 2015/16 season, the Terminal received a total of 44 vessels. The terminal processed 86 400 passengers, including approximately 37 655 crew members who are effectively tourists when they arrive in Cape Town. The average time of processing visitors through customs, from entry to exit, was 20 minutes.
The number of liner arrivals in the 2016/17 season is expected to equal that of last season, including visits from the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth.
The V&A Waterfront believes in the power of the cruise industry, and its need for a well-managed terminal in Cape Town, and will work with the likes of South African Tourism and Wesgro to grow demand.
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