News Article

MSC Orchestra arrival ringing in restart of cruise liner tourism since coronavirus outbreak

Published: January 11, 2022


The arrival of the MSC Orchestra cruise ship from Durban at the Port Elizabeth Harbour this morning symbolises the revival of the cruise liner tourism industry that generated more than R30 million before the coronavirus pandemic ground the industry to a halt.

The rhythm of the drums and the inspired traditional dancing accompanied hopeful messages from the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Transnet and MSC Cruises that the docking will be a first of many other cruise ships to arrive during the 2021/2022 season.

Executive Mayor Eugene Johnson welcomed the passengers and crew. She encouraged them to explore the excellent amenities Nelson Mandela Bay has to offer.

"We are encouraged by today’s event and will be strengthening our existing relationship with Transnet with regular engagements to generate more opportunities like this for our city. Although the fight against the coronavirus pandemic is far from over, the first signs of normality are encouraging.

"We have an Economic Recovery Framework in place to regain our footing after the economic meltdown caused by the COVID-19 outbreak basically derailed our tourism during 2020 and 2021. We are geared to face the hard work head-on to bring investments and opportunities back to our city,” Mayor Johnson said.

During the 2018/19 season, more than R30 million was spent by the passengers and crew members of about twenty cruise liners visiting Nelson Mandela Bay.

Member of the Mayoral Committee for Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture Mkhuseli Jack said plans are afoot to address tourism infrastructure issues by a cross-section of municipal departments to improve visitor experiences.

"We have a lot to offer international and local visitors. If the infrastructure is up to scratch, we will have more return visits and simultaneously greater investments,” MMC Jack said.

The MSC Orchestra left the Durban Harbour on 9 January en route to Cape Town next. The same vessel will be returning to Port Elizabeth Harbour (Gqeberha) twice more this month.

Mr David Goliath, Acting Port Manager, said the Transnet Ports Authority envisages the Port Elizabeth Harbour becoming a more recreational area to complement its operational successes.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the Nelson Mandela Bay Cruise Ship Steering Committee developed the Nelson Mandela Cruise Strategy. It was sculpted to enable a focused vision and direction in the race to become a destination of choice for cruise liners by growing the number of seasonal cruise line visits to Nelson Mandela Bay.


Issued on behalf of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality by Media Management Officer Kupido Baron (082 780 2726 / 041 506 1500 / @kupidobaron).

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