Scotland has attracted record-breaking cruise season for next year, with growing popularity as a destination which more than doubles the number of cruise visits and passengers in less than a decade thus making contributions to the economy of the country.
The promise of another busy summer follows a 7th successive best-yet season in 2016 when there were 676 visits by cruise ships, up 35% on 2015 and bringing around 484,000 passengers, an increase of 5.3%.
Ports and their hinterlands around mainland Scotland and the islands shared a market with an estimated value of almost £56 million in 2016.
There are currently 808 ships, including more large vessels, booked to call in 2017, up 19.5% on 2016, with an anticipated 35%-plus jump in the number of passengers to around 656,000. A number of cruise lines are returning with more calls next year when the annual value to the Scottish economy is expected to reach more than £72.5 million.
Cruise Scotland Chairman, Andrew Hemphill, commented:
“The expectations for next year will mean that since 2010, the organisation’s first full year, ship numbers, passengers and their spend will all have more than doubled.
“The continuing growth in the record numbers now visiting shows the increasing popularity of Scotland as a hugely exciting destination.
“The statistics demonstrate marketing is working and there is increasing appreciation among cruise operators and passengers of Scotland’s many and varied attractions which deliver fantastic visitor experiences.
“The success in persuading operators to include Scotland in their itineraries in a highly-competitive global market is very much a team effort by our members and support services. There is tremendous potential for more in a growth industry, through sustained promotion and quality product.”
Next year’s bumper season is expected to mean that, in the 2010-2017 period, cruise ship arrivals will have increased 119% from 342 to 808 calls and passenger numbers will have increased 144% from 268,481 to 656,510, for a total value of around £400 million over the period.
At the recent, first, Scottish Cruise Summit, arranged by the Scottish Government and opened by Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing MSP, he and delegates recognised the efforts and success of what Cruise Scotland has achieved in developing the cruise market in Scotland and its potential.
Cruise Scotland’s marketing programme includes a return to Seatrade Cruise Global, the industry’s premier conference and exhibition, in Florida in March, 2017.
The organisation’s aims include promoting Scotland as a world class cruise destination and increasing market share.