Monday, 23 April 2012 Invergordon, Scotland, will welcome the first cruise ship of the2012 season this week, with the Marco Polo calling on April 25. In total, the Cromarty Firth is due to welcome 64 cruise ships,carrying 75,060 passengers over the season and is due to run fromApril until September. Eight ships are paying a maiden visit to the Port of Invergordonand it is projected that on 11 occasions this year, the Firth canexpect to host two ships at one time, all of which demonstrates theimportance of the cruise industry to the tourism sector of theHighlands and Islands. The cruise sector has seen growth year on year. The Port ofInvergordon can now boast a 20%increase on the previous record forthe number of ships that call in one season. |
Last year it was estimated that in the region of 10m wasgenerated in direct and indirect income for the Highlands, as adirect result of the cruise sector, an economic contribution forwhich Invergordon and the wider region benefit. This growth would have been impossible without the portinfrastructure and facilities that have developed in the Firth overthe last 30 years, complimenting the existing oil and gas sector. The arrival of the Marco Polo on the 25 th April marks the first of four visits this season for thisparticular ship and helps to demonstrate the commitment of thecruise industry to the Cromarty Firth and recognizes the uniquebenefits of the geographical location of the Firth. Captain Iain Dunderdale, Cruise Manager for Cruise Highlands, thejoint venture between Cromarty Firth Port Authority andBannerman s, commented: 2012 looks set to be our strongestperforming year.
The greeting received by tourists from the localcommunity is a factor in attracting repeat visits from cruiseships. The volunteers of the Invergordon Tourism Alliance will continuetheir valuable role in greeting and assisting the tourists as theydisembark and head into the town. Commenting on the growth the cruise sector has seen in recentyears, Captain Ken Gray, Chief Executive and Harbour Master ofCFPA, added With multiple visits forecast, demand has increasedfor additional berth facilities and this will be supported by theCromarty Firth Port Authority s exciting development program.
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