A major new marketing drive is to target a 40 per cent rise in the number of big-spending cruise liner passengers coming to the Capital.
The £35,000 Cruise Edinburgh marketing campaign will see a new dedicated website set up to promote the city to cruise passengers, while tourism leaders will target a series of adverts and brochures at trade operators.
A main target will be to incADVERTISEMENTrease Edinburgh’s presence on the itineraries of the Baltic and Norwegian operators and build on the growing popularity of the Northern European cruises. It is hoped that it will help achieve a 40 per cent rise in passenger numbers by 2013.
National tourism agency VisitScotland today confirmed that it is to award £17,500 towards the campaign from its growth fund.
The other £17,500 is to be provided by the Cruise Edinburgh partner agencies Forth Ports and the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group, which includes the city council’s Destination Edinburgh Marketing Alliance, Historic Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland.
Peter Lederer, chairman of VisitScotland, said: “We’re delighted to award this latest funding to Cruise Edinburgh and it’s encouraging to see tourism groups in Edinburgh and the Lothians working together and making good use of the VisitScotland Growth Fund.
“Growing tourism is critical to the future of Scotland and the industry is worth £4 billion to the Scottish economy. In the current economic climate it’s crucial we work together to get tourism growth back on track and the growth fund encourages businesses to seek out joint opportunities where they can maximise on their marketing efforts.”
Latest data from Forth Ports indicates that 55,000 passengers came to Edinburgh in this year’s cruise liner season.
In the three months to the start of July, passenger numbers were five per cent ahead of last year.
While Leith Harbour can take relatively small vessels, larger ones drop anchor at Hound Point in the shadow of the Forth bridges or at Rosyth.
Because cruise liner passengers spend more on average than other tourists, they are seen as being an important means of achieving the target of increasing Scotland’s tourism revenues by 50 per cent by 2015.
Councillor Tom Buchanan, the city’s economic development leader, said: “The administration is very keen to ensure that Edinburgh benefits from the Northern European cruise liner industry and has a longer-term ambition to have a dedicated new cruise liner terminal at Leith Docks.
“It is a significant growth market and people sometimes forget that the benefit comes from not only the people who come to the city but also the services provided on the cruise liners, which can provide business opportunities.
“People often think of cruises as being beneficial in terms of the passengers who come to the city but these are also bringing ship crews that come into the city and support the local economy.
“It is essential that we re-engage with the blue belt and that we have a cruise liner strategy that ensures we benefit from a lucrative sector.”