Cash plea for Scottish cruise ports

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forth.jpgIn the week that The CRUISE Show arrives in Glasgow for the first time, it would seem all is not well in the cruise business north of the border.
While the number of passengers visiting Scottish ports is at an all-time high, bringing record amounts of money into the economy, voices are being raised in demands for more support for the industry from the Scottish Assembly.
Andrew Hemphill, general manager of the Clydeport Ocean Terminal at Greenock, has also complained that while rival ports in Wales and Ireland have received substantial financial backing, cruising has been largely ignored by VisitScotland, the country’s national tourist organisation.
“I don’t think they appreciate the importance of cruises for the economy,” he told The Herald. “If you think that passengers and crew are spending around £25 per head on each visit, it is worth £2 million to the local economy. A town like Greenock needs that kind of investment. They don’t get a tourism industry by default,” he said.
Two years ago, an application from Clydeport for £8 million from the Scottish government for £8m to extend its quayside was rejected. The port has to accommodate cruise ships and cargo vessels on the same quay, limiting the number of liners that can visit. “We’ve had to turn ships away,” said Hemphill.
Elsewhere in Scotland, the only other port which can comfortably accommodate today’s big modern cruise ships is Invergordon, near Inverness. The facilities for visitors to Edinburgh are limited to berths for medium-sized vessels at Leith and Rosyth. Larger ships such as Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth and Holland America’s Eurodam (above) have to anchor in the shadow of the Forth Bridge and take passengers by tender to a stone-built jetty at South Queensferry.
At smaller ports such as Aberdeen, Kirkwall, Oban and Tobermory, facilities are even more rudimentary. And yet the number of passengers visiting Scotland by cruise ship this year is expected to reach more than 300,000 – up by as much as 12 per cent.
Hemphill and Cruise Scotland are frustrated that the Irish Sea ports of Holyhead, Cork, Dublin, Milford Haven, Swansea and Waterford have received £1.2 million from the European Development Fund to form the Celtic Wave marketing partnership.
“I’ve just come back from a trade show in Hamburg where Celtic Wave had a stall that was three times the size of ours. In Miami, their stall was six times as big as ours.”
That state of affairs is unlikely to be changed by VisitScotland’s promise of £11,000 from its growth fund to help the ports market themselves.
No wonder I can’t find any of the Scottish ports among the exhibitors listed as appearing at The CRUISE Show at Glasgow’s SECC next Saturday and Sunday, October 22 and 23.

By | 2017-06-15T15:59:59+00:00 17 October 2011|Cruise Destinations, Cruise News|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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