The cruise industry has its peaks and troughs and currently the Northern Irish trade is through the roof. Local reporters are suggesting the cruise ship industry in the country could be worth £30m to the local economy on an annual basis within a few short years. The company as the heart of this economic boom is Cruise Belfast, a marketing venture made up of both Belfast Harbour and Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau (BVCB) has already confirmed publicly that the luxury cruise liner business already generates £15m for the local economy every year. Experts have spoken positively however and don’t believe that growth that would see this figure double would be out of reach as the business just seems to keep on generating more and more profit. By 2020, predictions suggest that the industry should be generating around £30m if figures continue to be reached.
From Manufacture to Tourism
Belfast of course, is historically synonymous with the building of cruise ships, notably the infamous RMS Titanic but in modern times, there seems to be an emphasis on tourism. Just recently, it was revealed that the city will be expecting 43 cruise ships over the summer, bringing an estimated 75,000 to the area, breaking all former records. Considering the massive vessels have only been docking in Belfast since 1996, that’s an amazing feat and this influx of visitors is going to take Belfast over the half a million mark since back in 1996.
The range of cruise ships planning to visit Belfast over the coming months includes a massive range of different tour providers including P&O, Fred Olsen and Prestige Cruises. The height of the season peaks in July and August with the last arrival from Phoenix Reisen’s MS Amadea arriving on September 19th. The range of different arrivals in Belfast will surely make for a fascinating year and boost the economy significantly. A closer look at reviews and information regarding the companies arriving in the docks will be central to the local industry’s success and understanding the expectations of tourists and visitors will rank highly too. Cruise reviews and FAQs can be plainly accessed via the many company websites providing the cruise packages and many of the ships docking in Belfast have a famous, prestigious history. On May 20th, the Caribbean Princess the biggest liner in Belfast’s history docked in and brought along over 3,000 passengers. These included American tourists keen to get in touch with their Irish heritage and roots. This ship is the fifth of the year already to dock at Belfast so experts are announcing the official beginning of cruise season in Northern Ireland and things are bound to get a whole lot busier.
Belfast Harbour: Growth and Development:
To cope with the growth and changes to the industry, the Belfast Harbour area has been treated to a huge refurbishment and development programme. The Belfast Harbour company have invested £10m to further boost the city’s popularity as a cruise destination by creating the longest deep water berth found in either The Republic of Ireland or the North. This Stormont Wharf development has allowed for the docks to accommodate much larger vessels and therefore increase the number of supersize class ships entering into the Irish waters. Much of the continued growth of the industry is put down directly to the work and effort of the Cruise Belfast Initiative and its backers BVCB and Belfast Harbour which is integral in the worldwide marketing of Belfast as a city which should be included as a cruise ship destination. The impact this growth will have on the local economy will be life altering for many, with a burgeoning tourist population relying on the Belfast natives to provide a fantastic and memorable holiday for them. Both the hospitality and catering industries will see a massive boost and there’s a chance for tourism in Northern Ireland to be significantly enhanced and built upon. With American tourists keen to trace their ancestors and take in the natural beauty spots, the chance to enjoy this city should not be underestimated. The cruise ship industry is a worldwide phenomenon and despite recent mishaps and black marks against the industry, Belfast shows that when it’s done properly, the ships keep coming and there is always scope to build upon past mistakes.