14 March 2011

Durban to host Seatrade Africa Cruise Forum

There’s much excitement around the inaugural Seatrade Africa Cruise Forum that will take place In Durban, KwaZulu-Natal from 10 to 12 May 2011.

The Fairmont Zimbali Resort in KwaZulu-Natal. The Fairmont Zimbali Resort in KwaZulu-Natal.

This will be a critical opportunity for Africa, KwaZulu-Natal and port cities – such as Walvis Bay, Mombasa, Maputo, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town – to demonstrate the exciting opportunities which cruise liners have to develop new regional cruise tourism destinations and itineraries. - James Seymour, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau

Life's a cruise, and no doubt many cruise tourism industry experts would agree. The exciting news is that it was recently announced that Durban has secured the rights to host the Seatrade Africa Cruise Forum at the Fairmont Zimbali Resort.

Seatrade has a firm reputation as the leading cruise tourism marketing agency and the organisation has hosted some of the world's top cruise tourism trade shows including Seatrade Europe, Seatrade Asia and Cruise Shipping Miami.

The event, organised in conjunction with the Cruise Indian Ocean Association (CIOA) and the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Authority, will take place hot on the heels of the Travel INDABA 2011. The forum will bring together decision-makers from all major cruise lines with a stake in the region to discuss core issues relating to the industry.

Cruise tourism has certainly come to the fore over recent years, and the event will offer the perfect platform for discussion, collaboration and creativity. James Seymour, Interim Chief Executive Officer for the Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau, is thrilled that the event is coming to Durban.

'This will be a critical opportunity for Africa, KwaZulu-Natal and port cities – such as Walvis Bay, Mombasa, Maputo, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town – to demonstrate the exciting opportunities which cruise liners have to develop new regional cruise tourism destinations and itineraries,' he said.

Seymour believes that cruise tourism is now regarded as one of the most important tourism niche markets, and is the only tourism market that actually experienced growth despite the global economic downturn of 2009/2010.

'The East Coast of Africa and regions like KwaZulu-Natal are performing well in terms of this form of tourism, albeit from a small base,' he explained. 'For example, the MSC cruise operations out of Durban are set to yield in excess of 100 000 passengers this season.'

No doubt, the inaugural Seatrade Africa Cruise Forum will be something to write home about, and the event is the perfect way to end-off a successful INDABA 2011. Interested parties can download the brochure from the Africa Cruise Forum website.