CruiseForth secures funding to promote engagement with the growing cruise industry
CruiseForth has landed £79,000 Scottish Enterprise funding to continue its work making businesses more aware of the opportunities presented by the multi-million pound cruise activity taking place every year on and around the Forth.
Its new intiative – dubbed ‘Project Crystallise’ – will be funded for two years and extend its reach to businesses across Tayside, Forth Valley and the Borders, reflecting the growth of ship visits to the Forth and to Dundee, where 14 cruise ships will visit in 2017 (up from 10 in 2016).
The first in a series of seminars to be funded by the project attracted 60 businesses to meet with cruise excursion companies, showcasing new opportunities in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Borders, and Fife.
Other elements of the project will explore improved transport integration for cruise and a digital information resource.
The funding, which is combined with an additional £10,000 from local partners, is provided as part of the Tourism Destination Development Fund.
It comes ahead of the 2017 Cruise Season, which will see a 40% increase in passenger numbers from ships visiting the River Forth (and Tay), with 122 vessels due to deliver over 145,000 passengers to Rosyth, Queensferry, Leith, Newhaven and Dundee (an increase on the 89 vessels which visited in 2016).
To promote these new opportunities directly to cruise lines, CruiseForth will travel this month to Seatrade Global, (14-16 March) the primary cruise exhibition and conference in Fort Lauderdale, to work alongside Forth Ports Ltd as part of the Cruise Scotland stand.
The granting of Scottish Enterprise funding for the next two years enables the project to further develop new opportunities for local businesses in the hospitality sector.
Danny Cusick, Director for Food and Drink, Tourism and Textiles at Scottish Enterprise, said: The Cruise Project is an excellent example of industry working together with regional partners to exploit a key asset and opportunity for Scotland. The Forth cruise market continues to deliver an impressive rate of growth and this project provides a critical service in enabling the nearby tourism destinations to benefit from the influx of visitors.”
Councillor Helen Law, Fife Council, Chair of the CruiseForth Project, said:“The Cruise Project has already been a great success in connecting local businesses across East Central Scotland with the cruise ships which arrive in the River Forth. The granting of Scottish Enterprise funding for the next two years enables the Project to further develop new opportunities for local businesses in the hospitality sector.”
Robert Mason, Head of Cruise at Forth Ports Ltd, said: “Forth Ports are committed to promoting Edinburgh and East Central Scotland as a destination for cruise itinerary planners. The 25% year on year growth in ship arrivals for 2017, involving 150000 passengers demonstrates the importance of this sector. 2018 bookings already look strong. The award of Scottish Enterprise funding for the CruiseForth project will make a significant positive impact to the effort to promote the involvement of local businesses.”
The Forth Bridges Cruise Project was established by the Dunfermline and West Fife Local Tourism Association in 2011, as an initiative to promote visitor business awareness of the opportunities from the cruise ships arriving at Rosyth.
Initial partners Forth Ports Ltd, Fife Council, Fife Tourism Partnership, and Fife Chamber of Commerce oversaw the recruitment of Welcome Volunteers and improvements to the information facilities at Rosyth where 20+ ships visited annually. The Project/ The Project expanded to South Queensferry in 2013, Leith 2014 and Newhaven in 2015.
The CruiseForth Website was launched in 2013. The Welcome Volunteers won the national Scottish Tourism Thistle Award in the Warmest Welcome category in 2015, and the Fife Chamber of Commerce award for Excellence in Tourism in 2016.