As part of the occasions that mark the beginning of Easter Holidays, eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, warmly welcomed the captain and over 2 000 passengers who disembarked from the Queen Mary 2 ship when it docked at Durban Harbour on Monday morning.
According to Kaunda this will add as a great financial boost for the tourism sector in the province and the country at large.
“As the leadership of eThekwini Municipality, we are delighted to welcome one of the longest passenger ships in the world, Queen Marry 2 to our beautiful city of Durban. Our delight stems from the fact that this ship brings visitors to the city who will be exploring various tourism product not only in the city but also in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.” Kaunda said. The ship cruises to more than 21 states in the world, however its popular destinations include Norway & Norwegian Fjords, Transatlantic, Mediterranean and Canary Islands. It also offers full World Voyages.
The majestic ship last touched down in Durban in 2021 when every country was pinned down by the Covid19 pandemic. It also comes at a time where the Port of Durban expansion is set to take off. Queen Mary 2 is the world’ second biggest ocean liner after the Symphony of Seas and it is about 345 meters long with about 45 meters at the bridge wings.
“The arrival of Queen Mary 2 comes at a time when we are busy with the expansion project of the Port of Durban. This development is expected to be a major draw-card for cruise liners and will include five-star hotels, retail mall, apartments, and an African cultural centre.” said Kaunda.
Some of the tourist attractions that guests will be visiting include the Valley of 1000 Hills, Hluhluwe, and St Lucia. The passengers would have the opportunity to travel throughout the stunning province of KwaZulu-Natal through shuttle buses to visit tourist attractions in eThekwini and KwaZulu-Natal.
“This development is expected to be a major draw card for cruise liners and will include five-star hotels, a museum, an exhibition centre, a retail mall, apartments, and an African cultural centre and science centre.” Kaunda said.
Tourists will also visit the Shark diving along the Aliwal Shoal, the City’s Heritage Routes and also go Hiking. Other activities include guided tours, visiting Tala Game Reserve or a ride of the segway through the forest at the Phezulu Safari Park.
Kaunda said that as a coastal city, tourism continues to be the gold of the eThekwini’municipality. The city is currently developing attractive tourism packages in order to remain a preferred tourism destination.
He was also pleased that National Department of Tourism has embarked on a Cruise Tourism Maximisation Strategy development which will focus on the impact that Cruise Tourism has on the Cruise Port Destinations. The strategy also aims to robustly penetrate the Cruise Market by ensuring that more Cruise Liners come to SA, particularly Durban.
“It is for this reason that working with Transnet, we have started a massive infrastructural improvement in our Port. We are confident that these interventions will revive the tourism sector and create much-needed jobs for the unemployed.”
“We all know that COVID-19 reversed significant gains we had made in this sector and the arrival of Queen Marry 2 demonstrates that the tourism industry in Durban is now bouncing back. We want to assure you that Durban is ready to host thousands of visitors who have already started to descend on our shores.” said Kaunda.
19 of the city’s 23 beaches are now open and Kaunda assured that they are safe for swimming and that experts continue to monitor the quality of water to ensure that it is at an acceptable standard.
“With these remarks we want to welcome you all and wish you a wonderful stay in Durban. We trust that after this visit, you will become our ambassadors in your countries and encourage more people to visit Durban.” he said.