Greenock Ocean Terminal has become the first ever Scottish port to welcome 100,000 passengers in a single year.
The landmark passenger arrived into the port town this morning on board luxury cruise liner the Regal Princess.
Anita Wong who has travelled with her husband Paul from Ontario Canada, will spend some time in Greenock, before heading off to visit Glasgow for a few days.
She is just one of a record-breaking 108,866 passengers expected to arrive into Greenock this year, on board 56 ships, a 14% increase on last year’s numbers.
Owners of Greenock Ocean Terminal Peel Ports believe that the terminal’s record breaking year, marks a renaissance in the cruise market in Scotland, which is becoming a destination of choice for thousands of passengers every year.
The arrival of ships such as the illustrious Queen Mary II liner as part of Cunard’s 175th anniversary celebrations and the newest addition to the P&O Cruises fleet, the Britannia have helped to boost Greenock’s passenger numbers this year.
Over the past eight years passenger numbers calling at Greenock have more than quadrupled. In 2007 just 20,253 passengers passed through the port compared to 92,678 in 2014.
The cruise industry makes a significant contribution to Scotland’s regional and local economies. Based on conservative estimates, each passenger contributes £80 to the local economy.
If Greenock Cruise Terminal achieves its projected 108,866 visitors this year, it will bring more than £10million to the local economy.
Director, Andrew Hemphill said:
“Welcoming our 100,000th passenger, marks a landmark year for Greenock as we become the first Scottish port ever to do so.
But we are still only three quarters of the way through the year and there are still plenty more ships scheduled to call at the terminal bringing a further 8,000 passengers with them.
More and more cruise operators are choosing Greenock and the fact that we have been named the UK port destination of choice by US tourists this year, is testament to the continued investment Peel Ports has made in Greenock.
Investment has been crucial to the success of Greenock allowing us to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for passengers and with its close proximity to some of Scotland’s most famous landmarks, as well as the beauty of the town itself, it’s no wonder Greenock is a popular choice.
We are already looking ahead to 2016, when we hope to welcome even more passengers to Greenock.
For now though we hope our visitors on board the Regal Princess, enjoy their time in Scotland and make the most of the very best of what this beautiful location has to offer."
Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing, MSP praised the contribution made by Greenock Ocean Terminal, to the Scottish tourism industry. He recently visited the terminal in August 2014.
Mr Ewing said:
“Scotland has a global reputation as an ideal cruise destination. This latest visit, and the achievement of welcoming the 100,000th cruise passenger to Greenock, is a testament to the work of all our partners in promoting Scotland abroad, as well as the industry’s efforts to deliver a quality experience on the ground.
I am sure that this latest opportunity to showcase Scotland on an international stage will provide a memorable experience for all guests today.”
Recent significant investments, worth £300,000 in the cruise terminal at Greenock have been crucial to its success, helping to create an award winning, welcoming and comfortable environment for passengers – the first experience thousands of overseas cruise passengers have of Scotland every year.
Greenock provides overseas visitors with the chance to see landmark attractions across Scotland. Many of its cruise passengers will take advantage of coach trips to other destinations, while many will spend time in the local area during their stay.
This year Greenock was named as the number one port of choice for Americans visiting the UK, as part of a poll conducted by Cruise Critic, an online cruise guide where travellers share their experiences and opinion.
VisitScotland Regional Director Annique Armstrong said:
“I’m delighted to hear that Greenock Ocean Terminal has achieved this record-breaking achievement and become the first-ever Scottish port to welcome more than 100,000 passengers in a single year.
As the cruise port for Glasgow and the west of Scotland, Greenock is a perfect gateway to the region as it is within easy reach of a wealth of first-class visitor attractions and some of the country’s most scenic countryside.
Our congratulations go to Peel Ports and its dedicated team of staff who have done such a fantastic job of ensuring Greenock features on so many cruise itineraries and increasing passenger numbers so significantly over the past few years to boost the region’s economy and benefit Scotland’s tourism industry.”
To mark today’s milestone, Andrew Hemphill presented the 100,000th passenger with a traditional Scottish gift, as well as presenting a commemorative plaque to the ship’s captain John Foster.
A further nine ships will call at Greenock this year including the Black Watch which will facilitate the first ever direct sailing from Scotland to the Caribbean, with cruise operator Fred. Olsen.
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