Belfast set for record 285,000 cruise tourists
The number of tourists arriving in Belfast on cruise ships is expected to increase by 100,000 this year.
Cruise Belfast, the partnership between Belfast Harbour and Visit Belfast, has said 285,000 visitors are due to arrive on 151 cruises during 2019.
It compares with 185,000 during 2018.
In total, 35 separate liners will drop anchor in Belfast, the most frequent being from Cruise & Maritime Voyages (15) and Princess Cruises (13).
July will be the busiest month with 32 ships docking.
These will include SAGA's first new-build vessel, Spirit Of Discovery.
Other first time callers will include Disney Magic.
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Michael Robinson, Belfast Harbour's commercial director, said: "Every year Northern Ireland's tourism offer continues to grow, attracting new cruise lines and ensuring that long-established port customers continue to develop their presence in this market. The arrival of almost 300,000 visitors during this season is a significant economic boost for the sector, helping sustain and support further growth.
"Belfast is now the third most popular destination in the UK and Ireland for one-day cruise ship calls after Dublin and Orkney.
"This is a remarkable achievement that reflects the ongoing marketing activities of our partnership with Visit Belfast under the Cruise Belfast brand." The first vessel is due on March 12, while the final visit is scheduled for October.
Gerry Lennon, chief executive of Visit Belfast, added: "Cruise tourism continues to be one of the strongest growth sectors of tourism worldwide, and Belfast is asserting itself as a destination of choice in the eyes of cruise lines and their passengers.
"In the last five years alone, cruise visitor numbers to Belfast have more than doubled to the 285,000 that we expect to welcome this year."