Phoenix Reisen's Artania passes under the Forth Bridge (Image: Mike Dooley Photography)
Scotland’s main economic development agency Scottish Enterprise has allocated £79,000 of funding to CruiseForth, a grassroots initiative that aims to get local businesses involved in the Forth region’s growing cruise market.
Provided as part of Scotland’s Tourism Destination Development Fund, the funding will be given over two years and will be combined with an additional £10,000 from local partners. The new initiative, labelled Project Crystallise, will extend CruiseForth’s reach to businesses across Tayside, Forth Valley and the Borders.
The first of a series of seminars funded by the project brought together cruise excursion companies and 60 local businesses to discuss new opportunities in Edinburgh, across the Lothians, Borders and Fife. Other elements of the project will explore improved transport integration for cruise and a digital information resource.
“The Cruise Project is an excellent example of industry working together with regional partners to exploit a key asset and opportunity for Scotland,” said Danny Cusick, director of Food and Drink, Tourism and Textiles at Scottish Enterprise. “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.”
Scottish Enterprise’s funding comes ahead of the 2017 cruise season, which will see 122 vessels bringing more than 145,000 passengers to the ports of Rosyth, Queensferry, Leith, Newhaven and Dundee. This marks a rise from 89 vessels last year, and a 40% increase in passenger numbers from 2016.
"Forth Ports are committed to promoting Edinburgh and East Central Scotland as a destination for cruise itinerary planners,” said Robert Mason, head of cruise at Forth Ports. “The 25% year-on-year growth in ship arrivals for 2017, involving 150,000 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.”