Tourism landmark aiming for maritime hub to help build blue economy

Cape Town is a bold step closer to having a new maritime precinct inside the V&A Waterfront, and stakeholders believe it could rank among the finest in the world.

The precinct idea is gaining traction, particularly in  the wake of a recent V&A workshop organised specifically to discuss the concept. The plan also aligns with the new BlueCape initiative launched jointly earlier this year by the V&A, The City of Cape Town and key private industry players.

BlueCape seeks to expand Cape Town’s Blue Economy, particularly around three key growth ‘pillars’ – marine manufacturing, superyachts, and ocean sports.

Introducing their ‘Ocean Cluster House’ ambitions in October, the V&A’s project team sketched a bold vision of an integrated visitor-friendly space which would benefit multiple economic sectors, from retail and tourism to ship repair and boat building. “In the Ocean Cluster House, we seek to establish the world’s most inspiring ocean cluster hub which provides an enabling environment,” said SOLVE, a V&A business development team driving the initiative. “The founding philosophy of the Waterfront was to connect the people of Cape Town with the sea,” explained an introductory note for workshop participants. “The neighbourhood is built around a working harbour and yacht basin, with a third of the ocean-fronting property dedicated to ocean-based industries (there are 3,5km of quay walls and jetties). The V&A is keenly aware of its role and responsibility towards sustaining this crucial intersection between land and sea, and leveraging it for the greater social and environmental good.”

“We have therefore adopted the mutually reinforcing goals of growing the opportunities relating to the ocean economy, including creating ocean-related jobs, while developing and exercising best-practice ocean stewardship. This requires us to explore and find mechanisms for a kind of sustainability balancing act the world has often failed to achieve,” SOLVE said.

Speaking at the workshop V&A chief executive David Green emphasised the V&A’s commitment to job creation. He said he believed a maritime hub could act as a job creation catalyst and build on the success of other work incubators, such as the successful Workshop 17 ‘innovation hub’ and recently-launched Maker’s Landing. The addition of a maritime economy hub was a further step towards “creating the world’s most inspiring Waterfront community”, Green said.

“We’re bringing these elements together to try and stimulate and grow jobs. The future is in the small business space,” Green said.

Bruce Tedder, chairman of the South African Boat Builders Export Council, said the precinct could be key up-skilling centre: “We see the hub as being an ocean skills incubator. It’s all about people and connections.”

“This is going to cook,” Tedder said.

Sign In


Reset Password

Please enter your username or email address, you will receive a link to create a new password via email.