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Oh, the places you could go: Meet MSC Cruises SA's MD, Ross Volk


Ross Volk3 (1)

“ seems that every path I’ve taken my whole life has been one that no-one else goes on, and I have to pioneer my way through,” says Ross Volk, the Managing Director of MSC Cruises South Africa. While he hasn’t had to chart a new path on the seas, his seven years at the helm of the multinational’s local operations have not always been smooth sailing. 

The tourism sector took a big knock during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and, as Ross says, it was uncharted territory, but MSC Cruises SA was able to make it out relatively unscathed. 

“I think we were rather fortunate in South Africa that we didn’t have the same constraints related to COVID conditions, and we were able to negotiate quite well above board with all the authorities to do things practically.”

In this Business Unusual Podcast, Ross is in conversation with Topco Media’s Group Editor, Fiona Wakelin. Here Ross takes us through how MSC Cruises SA survived the pandemic, how they’re thinking about and integrating all aspects of ESG into their operations, how they’re navigating the tourism market in the region and more.

Key takeaways to listen out for in this podcast:


  1. Businesses that rely on the environment need to get ahead of the curve and be intentional about sustainable business practices
  2. Being exposed to different people and different places helps you understand the perspectives of all stakeholders when you’re in a leadership role
  3. Travelling to a place that isn’t easy to navigate can teach you more about yourself
  4. The learning never stops when you interact with others 
  5. Being transparent with your employees when you’re going through a difficult time, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, goes a long way 
  6. You need to work around the limitations that different regions present
  7. Sometimes you need to adapt a product or service for a specific market
  8. Know your lane and find out how you can play around in it and maximise opportunities