To include Marine and Maritime Cultural Heritage into the broad South African Maritime Agenda can give rise to a series of social and economic benefits beyond its immediate value: Maritime Heritage generates understanding of the past and public appreciation in the present.
In 2013 alone, maritime attractions in the UK (National Maritime Museum, Titanic Belfast, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, etc) attracted more than 300 000 tourists, generating approximately £3.7m income for the UK.
Oxford Economics suggests that there were about 134 000 jobs arising directly from heritage-based tourism in the UK, with Marine and Maritime Cultural tourism making a significant contribution to this figure.
Further, the concept for Marine and Maritime Cultural Heritage is a new and huge area for research and needs to be explored further.
The social and economic benefits are already occurring in South Africa, but are hidden and unrecognised, and this therefore calls for a closer assessment/study of the potential economic contribution to the GDP and Job Creation that can come from this sub-sector.