Saturday, 23 November 2013

Scottish Ports On Course For Record Cruise Season

Cruise Scotland - the marketing association for the Scottish ports of call - is stepping up its campaign to attract more visitors in future on the strength of a forecast for record numbers in 2014.
 
An end-of-season report reveals that passenger figures this year were up 9.7% on 2012 to 384,639, influenced in part by increasing vessel capacity (like the QM2 at Greenock, above). Vessel calls at 454 were down slightly on the 466 ships seen last year but cruise tourism is estimated to have been worth £48.8 million to Scotland in 2013, a rise of 5%.

The trend towards larger vessels continues next year with 450 arrivals currently expected, carrying approximately 390,000 passengers, the highest number yet to ports around the country. And Victor Sandison, Cruise Scotland’s Chairman, said: “Working closely with the Scottish Government and various agencies, we continue to make significant progress in a highly competitive, expanding international market.

“Over the past four seasons, vessels calling are up 26%, passengers by 43% and the value of cruise tourism to Scotland by 52.5%. We are committed to increasing awareness of the country’s many attractions, improving visitor experience and growing our market share.”

Scotland’s Minister for Energy, Enterprise & Tourism, Fergus Ewing MSP, added: “With the end of season figures showing an increase in passenger figures during 2013 as well as 2014 currently scheduling around 390,000 passengers, these are very encouraging results. They are testament to the hard work of all the industry and the hard work of the Cruise Scotland team.            

“The Scottish Government will continue to support the cruise industry, across all of Scotland, and we will work closely together in order to make the most of what Scotland has to offer at every potential destination – irrespective of the size of the vessel.”

Challenges faced by the industry currently include continued lobbying with other UK bodies, trade associations and ports to resolve issues over the UK Border Force’s face-to-document checks for passengers; tougher sulphur emission controls from 2015, which may impact on cruise calls to some ports; and constraints on coach capacity in some regions alongside insufficient tour guides with linguistic skills.

* Cruise Scotland was established in 2009 to promote and market Scotland as a first-class cruise destination to operators and work on behalf of members on relevant issues. It now has 20 members, including 16 ports, large and small, two major ground handlers/shore excursion providers and two castles, with recruitment ongoing.
 
More info: visit http://www.cruisescotland.com/ or call 01854 612724.
 
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