L-R: Jim McSporran, port director at Peel Ports Clydeport, Provost of Inverclyde, Councillor Drew McKenzie, Scottish Government Transport Minister, Fiona Hyslop and UK Government Minister for Scotland, Malcolm Offord
Inverclyde’s new £20 million ($25.1 million) cruise ship visitor centre has officially opened. The development is expected to provide a £26 million ($32.6 million) boost to the Scottish economy, create over 70 jobs, and increase visitor numbers to 150,000 passengers a year, a target that has already been surpassed.
“This is a magnificent venue that Inverclyde can be proud of,” said Councillor Drew McKenzie, provost of Inverclyde. “Our warm welcome is famous around the world and now we have a first-class venue befitting of that for visitors from near and far to enjoy all-year round, as well as the local community. It’s a project that has been a long time in the making but has been delivered through hard work and determination by all involved and really does epitomise partnership working at its best.”
The project, led by Inverclyde Council, is part of the £1 billion ($1.2 billion) Glasgow City Region City Deal funded by the Scottish and UK governments, with contributions from Peel Ports, operators of the existing Greenock Ocean Terminal, and the George Wyllie Foundation via Dunard Fund.
Cunard’s Queen Victoria stopped off on 25 August, the day of the official opening ceremony, creating another historic link between the cruise company and Inverclyde; the first Cunard ships were built in Greenock in the 1800s. The visitor centre was first used by passengers in June 2023 when MSC Virtuosa berthed at the terminal, which is scheduled to welcome 89 cruise ships throughout 2023.
The cruise ship visitor centre features an arrivals/departures hall operated by Peel Ports Clydeport, as well as a museum and art gallery, the Wyllieum, which pays tribute to the late artist George Wyllie, who worked as a Customs Officer in Greenock. A new 200-metre floating pontoon was also completed by Peel Ports in partnership with the council as part of the overall development, providing a dedicated cruise ship berth link to the visitor centre.
“It’s a really special moment welcoming guests to Greenock Ocean Terminal for our cruise visitor centre opening ceremony,” said Jim McSporran, port director at Peel Ports Clydeport. “The centre itself looks incredible and has been a huge success with the tens of thousands of passengers who have passed through it so far this year. We’ve invested significantly with our partners on upgrading our facilities, which we believe take our offerings at the port to the next level. We are now looking to build on a record year for cruise liners and continuing to attract and grow those tourist numbers to the terminal in the years ahead.”
The arrivals/departures hall as well as the Scotts Greenock restaurant and museum shop are already up and running, with the Wyllieum expected to open fully in early January 2024.