IN AN attempt to boost the number of cruise ships visiting the Outer Hebrides, Stornoway Port Authority (SPA) has adopted a new three-year strategy, kicked off with a visit to Florida.
Last week the SPA joined representatives from other member ports in the Cruise Scotland Group travelling to exhibit at the major international cruise trade fair in Miami, Florida.
Stornoway’s representative at the event, Jane Maciver, SPA Chair, explained: “Increasing the number of cruise visits to the islands is something that benefits the whole island economy in the long term.
“2010 saw 9,500 cruise passengers landing in Stornoway. That represents 9,500 people who might not otherwise have come to the islands, therefore 9,500 opportunities to give someone enough of a taste of what is available in the Hebrides to persuade them that they should come back for a longer visit.”
She continued: “In order to build relationships with the itinerary bookers, who decide which destinations cruise ships will visit, you have to make the effort to be where they expect to see you and in the cruise industry, THE place to be is at the annual Cruise Shipping Miami trade fair.
“Stornoway Port Authority will take part as a member of Cruise Scotland where we will be selling Scotland as a destination to the International market.”
The benefits of these efforts will not be realised for some years however as the cruise company route bookers work on a three to four lead time.
In the meantime, the Port Authority has hosted several meetings of a group of organisations and individuals who have a direct interest in ensuring that cruise ships and cruise passengers have an excellent experience when they visit the Outer Hebrides.