Belfast cashes in as cruise liners bring their custom ashore
The latest impressive cruise ship to dock at Belfast Harbour has given tourists from all over the world the opportunity to sample the sights and attractions of the city.
The Marina dropped anchor yesterday with 1,250 passengers and 800 crew on board.
Belfast Harbour has been working with the Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau to market the city internationally as a leading destination for cruise ships visiting northern Europe this summer. The Ruby Princess and its 3,080 passengers and 1,225 crew paid a visit earlier this week and the Nautica arrives today with 824 passengers and 386 crew, followed by the Voyager on August 1, with 550 passengers and 225 crew on board.
Tony McAuley from Belfast Harbour told the Belfast Telegraph of the importance of cruise calls for the tourism industry. "This year Belfast Harbour will welcome almost 110,000 cruise visitors, including some ships which are calling at Belfast for the first time," Mr McAuley said.
"This is an increasingly important business, not just for the Harbour, but for Northern Ireland's tourism sector. It's estimated that in 2013, cruise calls to Belfast generated £5m for the local economy and we're expecting a similar benefit from the 2014 cruise season."