For the first time, the tourism ambassadors have started selling the attractions of Cork city to travellers on board the luxury cruise vessels that call to the Port of Cork with an aim to capture a chunk of an estimated €12 million market.
The port has hosted three cruise ships that had about 5,000 passengers and also crew members on board them.
Therefore, yesterday marked an extremely busy day in the cruising sector of Cork, Ireland. Cruise tourism experts have predicted that the city is ready to draw up to 65 cruise shops in the period between March and November.
The cruise ship Le Soléal that had about 400 people on board that was berthed on North Custom House Quay on the fourth stop of its eight-night Celtic Coastline cruise. It had commenced in Portsmouth and it ends in Dublin.
On the other hand, Midnatsol, about 136 metres that has a capacity of accommodating 1,000 people on board, has been berthed on South Jetties.
It is actually a part of its 20-night cruise from Casablanca in Morocco to Bergen that is located in Norway. And, the gigantic 293m Serenade of the Seas with almost 3,000 people on board had arrived in Cobh as part of its 16-night cruise from Fort Lauderdale in Florida to Copenhagen.
Cork City Council has launched its tourism ambassador pilot project by placing four specially trained staff on board the Serenade of the Seas to tempt passengers to visit the city.
Official figures portray that each of the cruise ship travellers spend an average of €73 per day while they are onshore and this is worth about €12 million a year to the regional economy of this region. The statistics of Port of Cork indicated that before the cruise liners had arrived in the port, nearly half of the passengers had booked short excursions to places like Youghal, the Rock of Cashel, the Jameson Experience in Midleton, Kinsale and Blarney, but then the remaining are independent travellers.
Port officials told the city business last year that they had been losing out on this category of passenger and this is a crucial market that is likely to be worth up to €3.6 million annually. Sara Mackeown, the spokeswoman of the port said that they deliver up to 100,000 passengers and about 60,000 crew members to Cobh or the city quays this year.
The cruise season 2017 of the Port of Cork kicked off right from 20th March when it received a call from MV Saga Pearl of Saga Cruises.
Captain Michael McCarthy who is the commercial manager at the Port of Cork said that the cruise bookings for the year 2018 are also full.