Belfast Fares 'Better Than Expected' Regarding Cruises
According to The Irish News, Belfast has fared "better than expected" this year despite the global cruise industry still navigating choppy waters.
According to The Irish News, Belfast has fared "better than expected" regarding cruises this year despite the global cruise industry still navigating choppy waters.
The port reportedly revealed that it has welcomed 72 liners into the city this year, bringing ashore 55,000 passengers.
But that is reportedly a far cry from 2019, when a record 275,000 cruise passengers reportedly visited Belfast and spent around £15 million.
There have been few travel sectors worse hit by the pandemic than the £110 billion global cruise line industry, with thousands of liners reportedly anchored for months last year.
The safe resumption of cruise tourism into Northern Ireland reportedly began on June 17 with the arrival of the MSC Virtuosa, and it reportedly ended last week with the last cruise call of the season - the Fred Olsen's Borealis.
In normal times it would reportedly have a capacity of 1,350 passengers and 650 crew, but reportedly had only a fraction of that number last week due to ongoing COVID restrictions.
"We knew this would be very different to previous cruise seasons, but the millions of pounds of investment in our tourism infrastructure in recent years has put Belfast and Northern Ireland in a strong position to welcome cruise visitors back," Mary Jo McCanny, director of visitor services at Visit Belfast, reportedly said.
"I'm delighted we have been able to welcome more than 55,000 visitors ashore this summer and do what we do best - deliver a first-class welcome and experience the city and region is renowned for."
Some 15 vessels reportedly made inaugural calls to the north this year as Belfast reportedly also marked the milestone of welcoming its 1,000th cruise call with the arrival of MS Queen Elizabeth.
"Reaching this landmark and attracting new ships like the stunning Borealis and Bolette reflects both the success of the relationships we've made with international cruise operators and the development of Northern Ireland as an exciting cruise tourism destination," Belfast Harbour's port director, Michael Robinson, reportedly said.
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