Port of Cromarty Firth expects record-breaking cruise ship visits in 2019
THE Port of Cromarty Firth is anticipating another record-breaking year, with more than 180,000 passengers expected to disembark at Invergordon this season.
With 109 cruise ships expected in 2019, this will beat last year’s record of 93 ships and 170,000 passengers and equates to a five per cent increase in passengers and an almost 15 per cent increase in ship numbers.
Port chief executive Bob Buskie said: “These ships will bring more than 180,000 tourists to the Highlands this year, playing a crucial role in supporting the creation of local jobs in a number of areas including: tour guides, shipping agents, ground handling staff, transport providers, pipers, and the employees of local distilleries, golf clubs and the hospitality industry.
“We also have plans to create a Facebook page to help local businesses promote themselves to cruise passengers. This is part of our sustainable partnership approach to ensuring these visits benefit the Highlands for years to come.”
The cruise ships will bring an estimated £18 million boost to the Highland economy.
Among the companies benefitting is Ecotours in Cromarty, which has recruited extra staff to cope with demand for its dolphin and wildlife boat tours.
Sarah Pern, from Ecotours said: “With another projected increase in liner visits, and a desire for more bespoke, tailor made experiences we are pleased to be able to expand our team and carrying capacity for the season ahead. We are incredibly fortunate to live where we do and to have the unique wildlife of the Moray Firth on our doorstep and we are looking forward to sharing it with many more visitors in 2019.”
Invergordon will also provide a base for the 68,000 crew visiting the Highlands on these ships.
The first cruise ship to arrive will be the Astoria on March 26, and the season will finish on September 24 with the Seabourn Ovation.