Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality launches cruise liner season to boost the tourism sector

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Transnet’s National Ports Authority says this will accelerate the tourism sector’s recovery from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

Managing Executive, Siyabulela Mhlaluka says they are optimistic about this season.

He adds, “This year we are expecting about 34 ships to dock here in the port of Port Elizabeth. The PE port is an important part of our 8 commercial ports providing the enabling infrastructure to the more various sectors of our economy, and tourism is one of those.”

NMB Municipality Executive Mayor, Retief Odendaal declared the city open for business at the official opening of the cruise liner season on Saturday morning. The 34 ships are expected to dock in the metro between now and April next year.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Metro (NMB) has committed to supporting Transnet in order to boost the economy.

“Our presence in one of our main ports of entry is significant as we not only open our arms to welcome visitors, we manifest our belief that these important facilities should enjoy a special strategic focus in order to reignite our local economy.” he adds.

He adds, that he is fully aware that the COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on the cruise liner industry and that prior to 2019, there was a steady increase of cruise liners, however this was abruptly stopped when the tourism industry was brought to its knees by the Coronavirus outbreak.

Odendaal elaborates, “We need to build up our relationship between Transnet and the municipality to see how ultimately we can support Transnet to bring tourists to Nelson Mandela bay. We are in a unique situation, we are the only port, NMB that has the big seven as a result, there is a massive opportunity for tourists to come here and boost our economy and we will make sure that we support the industry by all means.”