Belfast Harbour brought to a close its most successful cruise season with unprecedented 94 calls.
The number of cruise ships calling at Belfast port has grown significantly in the last years. In 2010, a total of 35 ships visited Belfast with around 54,800 passengers, compared to 84 ships with nearly 143,500 passengers aboard in 2016, which is a growth of 140% and 160% respectively.
Cruise ships are currently worth £15 million (€16.85 million) per year to the economy of Northern Ireland. Estimates are that it will rise to £22 million by 2020.
This forecast indicates that port of Belfast could see cruise passengers hit 230,000 in just a couple of years. More than 110 liners are expected to dock in the province in 2018.
In recent years the Harbour has adopted a marketing strategy aimed at expanding cruise business with attendance at Seatrade Fort Lauderdale & Hamburg, and Cruise Europe conference sessions in Bremerhaven and Dublin.