A record number of cruise passengers visiting Invergordon has led to a boost in excess of $11.1m to the Highland economy for this year.
This cruise season, which started in May has seen 46 cruise liners calling at Invergordon, bringing a total of 48,787 passengers to the area. This compares to the 48,098 passengers last year and 52 cruise liners visiting the Port.
And with an expected 48 cruise liners visiting Invergordon in 2010, early indications for next year suggest a 20% increase in passenger numbers and gross tonnage.
On Friday (25th September), the 20,080 tonne Marco Polo, carrying 600 passengers, visited the port for one day as part of her 10 day cruise, to mark the end of a record season for passengers visiting Invergordon.
Highlights of the year included a maiden call from the 113,651 gross tonne Crown Princess, which on one of her calls brought 3,231 tourists, the largest number of passengers from a single cruise liner to visit Invergordon. The vessel visited another three times during the season.
Captain Iain Dunderdale, cruise development manager for Cruise Highlands Ltd., cruise liner marketing arm of Cromarty Firth Port Authority (CFPA), said: “While the number of vessels calling at Invergordon was slightly less than last year, the growth in size of cruise liners means they are bringing ever more passengers to the area and that trend is set to continue into 2010.
“In these difficult times, it is fantastic to see a significant boost to the local economy, highlighting the importance of the large cruise business. Current indications suggest that the increase in passenger numbers next year will further benefit the Highland economy from Caithness to Speyside and Wester Ross to Morayshire.”
Cruising remains the fastest growing sector of the leisure/holiday market, and in recent years Scotland has attracted a 46% share of the UK Port of Call cruise traffic. The Port of Invergordon is a leading member of Cruise Scotland, which was formed earlier this year.