Another Record Cruise Season For Scottish Ports. On course for a million passengers a year
Scottish ports are on course to welcome a million cruise passengers annually years ahead of original expectations after another record season in 2018 when a fleet of 825 cruise ships brought 794,577 passengers to destinations around the country.
Expenditure is estimated at £109.6 million, with the sector providing 1,139 fulltime equivalent jobs and £28.8 million in employee earnings.
Established in 2008 – a year when 377 ships and around 202,000 passengers arrived –Cruise Scotland’s membership includes 17 ports, two major ground handlers, and six associate members in the tourism sector.
Cruise Scotland Chair, Rob Mason, said: “It’s been another remarkable cruise season, with the trend in growth continuing – vessel arrivals were up 8.4% and passengers by 16.75% compared with 2017. Everyone involved in the success – directly through the ports and in the wide-reaching service sector – deserves a big vote of thanks for their support.
“We are committed to building on the achievements of the past decade by attracting more cruise ships and increasing the contributions to the Scottish economy.”
Based on current bookings, 912 vessels are heading for Scottish ports next year, an increase of 10.5% on 2018, with passenger numbers expected to be up 15.8% at more than 920,000.
A study commissioned by Cruise Scotland in 2010, when 248,923 visitors arrived, forecast almost 830,000 passengers by 2025.
Mr Mason, Forth Ports’ Head of Cruise for Capital Cruising in Scotland, said: “We will pass that figure in 2019. The million passenger potential was identified for 2029, requiring more than quadrupling the-then footfall, but growth has exceeded all our expectations and it should be achievable in the next few years if the expected trends continue in a competitive, global industry.”
To mark the success of the 2018 season and the organisation’s tenth anniversary, Cruise Scotland, hosted a VIP dinner at Edinburgh Castle in partnership with national agencies, Transport Scotland and Visit Scotland, and joined by Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing MSP, and representatives of a wide range of cruise operators. Cruise Scotland’s annual summit was held the following day at Transport Scotland’s offices at Victoria Quay, Leith.