VisitAberdeenshire will launch a new guide aimed at preparing the North-east for the arrival of the global billion-dollar cruise industry at a workshop in Aberdeen on 10 October, ahead of the new cruise-friendly Aberdeen South Harbour opening in 2020.
Local tourism businesses are invited to register to attend the free cruise-ready workshop at Aberdeen Treetops Hotel, where delegates will hear how they can ensure their business is cruise-friendly.
The cruise sector is a significant growth market for Scotland, and this year passenger numbers are set to increase to 656,000, an increase of 145% from 2010 figures, adding £72 million to the Scottish economy.
VisitAberdeenshire, the lead tourism agency for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, with partners Aberdeen Harbour Board and Scottish Enterprise, will facilitate two workshops for up to 48 delegates at each session, to identify key opportunities, challenges and prospects to collaborate.
Elaine Booth, business engagement manager at VisitAberdeenshire says, “Cruise passengers may only be in the area for a short time, but they are among the highest spending of all visitors, making the cruise market one of the most lucrative for local businesses.
“We need to prepare for thousands of visitors arriving onshore who want to explore the region, and the purpose of the cruise-ready guide and workshops are to help local businesses begin to make preparations in how they will manage this influx of visitors. We have a fantastic opportunity to establish Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire as a must see, must visit destination, and while the harbour extension may not be due for completion until 2020, for the region to be prepared, we must start the process now.
“The workshops are open to any business who may be in contact with the cruise ship passengers; that could be anything from transport operators, visitor attractions, activity and experience providers to tour guides, retail and catering outlets. The guide will be available to download from visitabdn.com from 10 October.”
Aberdeen Harbour chief executive, Colin Parker said, “The development of South Harbour will allow Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire to fully experience the impact of the phenomenon which is the larger vessel cruise market in Scotland today. What South Harbour will provide is a much-sought-after ability to berth large cruise vessels ‘alongside’, eliminating the need for cruise operators to ferry passengers to shore by small boat. The cruise companies are also enthusiastic as to what this corner of northern Scotland, has to offer. It is not an exaggeration to describe the area supported by the Harbour as representing one of the last great, untapped, cruise destinations in the U.K.”
Cllr Douglas Lumsden, co-leader of Aberdeen City Council, said: “The regional economic strategy has diversification and internationalisation at its core – both of which are demonstrated by the exciting opportunities in the cruise sector, enabled by the expansion of Aberdeen Harbour. The Council is committed to working in partnership with other key stakeholders to embrace the potential of the region as a destination and we are enthusiastic about the opportunities there are to enhance Aberdeen’s role as a global city for business and leisure. With significant investment being made by the Council in the cultural offering and through the City Centre Masterplan, we look forward to playing our part in the ambitious plans for the region.”