A planning application for Dún Laoghaire harbour's “next generation” cruise ship berth will be filed this month. It is expected to bring 400,000 passengers to the town per year, a 4-fold increase on 2015 scheduled visitors.
The chief executive of Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company, Gerry Dunne, said the plan would complement similar application from the port of Dublin but the future could be of collaboration under the “Cruise Dublin” banner.
The first cruise call to Dun Laoghaire was in 2012 and brought 300 passengers and crew. The number will rise to 100,000 in 2015 and represents a keystone in the economic hopes of the Irish area. It is estimated to represent €27 mill boost to the economy in Dún Laoghaire alone, as well as creating employment.
The Dublin area requires a “next generation” berth to facilitate ships of up to 340 m. Currently, the only location on the east coast that can do so, is Cobh in Cork.
According to Mr Dunne, speaking at “Future of Towns in Ireland Summit 2015” in Dún Laoghaire today, one of the initiatives to retain passengers in town would be a complimentary afternoon “showcase” of Irish talent for the arrival of each ship.
He said about 50% of those who visited cities on such voyages often decided on their own agendas, as opposed to those on offer by the cruise line itself.
It is also hoped the arrival of large ships would attract significant additional footfall in town from residents, estimated at 1 Irish visitor per passenger.
Mr Dunne didn't detail the plans for the berth but stressed to the importance of the harbour in the development of the area. In drawing up the master plan for the harbour 3 years ago, Mr Dunne said Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company had studied numerous examples including Barcelona, Genoa and Edinburgh which showed the importance of a mix of residential development, retail trade and cultural attractions.
He outlined the efforts between Dún Laoghaire local yacht clubs, working together to attract international sailing events, the first of which, though unspecified, was expected within the year.