The numbers of cruises from Edinburgh could rise if new plans to revitalise the area’s docks go ahead.
Leith is the harbour which caters for a large number of cruises from Edinburgh and officials at the city’s council believe that the growth of the port as a hub for cruise ships means that Leith could benefit from a revamp and encourage more cruises from Edinburgh, after a particularly strong year for the city which saw a total of 55 vessels visit, 35 of them docking in Leith.
A spokesman from Forth Ports referred to Leith as Scotland’s “marquee” docking point and explained: “Bookings for the 2014 and 2015 seasons are healthy and we are working hard with our partners to continue to promote Scotland as a destination and to further enhance the cruise passenger experience when they arrive.”
Among the developments for the port of Leith are new dock gates and a new finger pier and authorities are considering ways in which the port could support the growing cruise industry, both by welcoming more visiting cruise shipsand hopefully encouraging more cruises from Edinburgh, too.
The country’s tourism organisation, VisitScotland is behind the development of cruise ship trade, as its regional director, Manuela Calchini explained: “Over the last ten years, there has been encouraging growth in the cruise sector. VisitScotland has been working closely with Cruise Scotland to identify ways to support the industry in exploiting this growing opportunity for the region. As Scotland welcomes the world next year, all further growth in this market would be greatly welcomed.”
One of the other ports which serves the city of Edinburgh, South Queensferry, welcomed 48,600 passengers alone in 2013, giving some indication of the potential boost the area could receive if the numbers of cruises from Edinburgh were to increase thanks to the development of Leith port.
By Simon Brotherton