Port Louis Harbour is increasingly playing an important role in the growth of the island’s tourism industry through the development of facilities to accommodate cruise vessels. Statistics show that Cruise liners are showing a keen interest for the Indian Ocean destination. Mauritius not only aims to position itself as a world class cruise destination but also as a hub for the Vanilla Islands in the Indian Ocean region.
The cruise business segment is bringing substantial benefits to the local economy in terms of direct employment opportunities for Mauritians on board cruise vessels and other benefits linked to the supply of stores, water, bunker and inland tourism etc.
Presently, cruise vessels are provided with berthing facilities at either the dedicated 125 metres long Cruise Jetty located at Les Salines which is operational since 2009 or at the Multipurpose Terminal, depending on the availability of the Jetty and size of the vessel. The port facilities can accommodate a plethora of cruise vessels which cater for different market requirements. Port Louis accommodates both homeporting calls and transit calls made by Round the World Cruise vessels. The length of homeporting vessels is typically between 250 to 300 metres with 1,800 to 2,200 passengers onboard, whilst for the Round the World Cruise segment, vessel with maximum length of 345 metres can been accommodated.
Despite the fact that the COVID-19 Pandemic has had an impact on the cruise business, it is projected that the Cruise Segment will undergo a quick recovery with the reopening of the frontiers. For the cruise season 2021/2022, 19 cruise vessel calls have been scheduled.
In order to enhance the handling of the projected increase in cruise passengers, the MPA has embarked on a project for the construction of a Cruise Terminal Building of an extent of 7,500 square metres adjacent to the Cruise Jetty located at Les Salines. This state-of-the-art facility will be capable of accommodating up to 4,000 passengers, including the inter-island traffic. The works for the construction of the Cruise Terminal building are scheduled for completion by mid 2022.
The construction of a new Cruise Terminal Building and the development of the cruise business segment will undoubtedly firm up the position of Port Louis Harbour and the region as an attractive cruise destination in the Indian Ocean.