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Sink or swim for boat cruise operators

from FUTHI MBHELE in Durban
DURBAN – WHILE things are returning to normal in the tourism industry, the boat cruising sector is struggling to stay afloat due to the number of prevailing issues in South Africa.

It was not smooth sailing this past festive season, with some companies in the sector failing to secure full bookings.

Among those is the Isle of Capri Cruises, which has been operating in the Durban harbor for years.

The flooding in KwaZulu-Natal in 2022 as well as the subsequent contamination of seawater and resultant closure of some beaches and the increasing cost of fuel is impacting on business.

Now that all fishing boats are reportedly offering pleasure cruises as fishing in Durban has declined, competition is now stiffer.

It has added to the turbulence.

“We still see the decline in tourism in our industry,” Amanda Janse van Rensburg, owner of Isle of Capri Cruises, lamented.

The fact that we got funding to pay our employees for 15 weeks during the lockdown period was definitely not an indication that our business did not suffer big time too.”

Van Rensburg added, “We are doing everything we can to keep the business going but it’s not easy,” Rensburg said.

She said nonetheless, they need to keep customers happy and offer best services.

However, they cannot give discounts as this could sink the cruise company.

“Sadly we can’t offer any discounts,” van Rensburg conceded.

“We haven’t changed our prices for the last couple of years,” she added.

“In order for our survival we have to pray that our loyal customers will come back and/or tell their friends and family about our great services,” van Rensburg concluded.

– CAJ News

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