Scotland steps up campaign to attract more cruise ships

SCOTLAND has its biggest representation yet at Seatrade Cruise Global in Florida - targeting industry operators as they plan itineraries several years ahead.

The cruise liner Wind Surf, one of the largest sailing cruise ships in the world, berthed in Leith Docks last year.

Scotland’s ports have returned to the cruise industry’s major annual show with a strengthened sales pitch, thanks to increased membership of their marketing organisation and another record-breaking season underway.

Since January, the organisation has added four full members – Fort William, Port Ellen, Northern Lighthouse Board (Oban), and Scalloway/Shetland Islands Council – bringing its ports around Scotland to 20.

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Another two new associate members – Dunvegan Castle and Visit Aberdeenshire – have added to the four associates and two groundhandlers from the support and service sector.

Cruise Scotland chairman Andrew Hemphill said: “The additional membership and record activity demonstrate that the attractions and potential of Scotland are being recognised increasingly at home and abroad. The package on offer and the successes of the last decade are a great message.”

In an eighth successive record-breaking season, almost 810 cruise ships and over 656,000 passengers are set to visit Scotland in 2017, following 676 vessels and around 484,000 visitors last year. The value to the Scottish economy is expected to top £72 million.

Mr Hemphill added: “For many passengers, it will be their first visit to Scotland and, significantly, we know from experience they often return to enjoy again the stunning scenery, culture and heritage, and the hospitality. Participation at Seatrade Cruise Global will ensure we keep the momentum going.”

Cruise Scotland will be hosting an annual Cruise Summit, providing an opportunity for discussion with invited cruise line representatives, in Edinburgh in September. It will also be participating at Seatrade Europe, in Hamburg, in the same month.