Port of Cromarty Firth Launches Cruise and Crew Club
The Port of Cromarty Firth is launching a Cruise and Crew Club, designed to showcase local businesses and tourism organisations on the Firth and across the Highlands and help them maximise opportunities from cruise passengers and crew. The club was developed in partnership with a working group comprised of representatives of local business, the Port and tourism organisations, which make up the Port’s Cruise Stakeholder Group.
To join applicants must confirm that their business or organisation operates to the guiding principles of the club and pledge to ensure all visitors will enjoy an excellent experience, which includes a warm welcome to the Highlands. To make it easy for visitors to buy gifts and experiences, members agree to accept payment in Pounds, Euros and Dollars and to offer opening hours consistent with vessel visits wherever possible. Members are also encouraged to adopt a sustainable approach, make a commitment to purchase from local companies and employ local people, and actively minimise impact on the environment.
Any business or tourism venue wishing to join will be given access to a variety of different benefits, including the opportunity to advertise in the ‘Gateway to the Highlands’ magazine, which is given out to the 170,000 cruise passengers expected to visit Invergordon in 2018. A ‘Cruise and Crew Welcome Here’ sticker will be provided for display, highlighting a willingness to assist cruise passengers and crew. Access to training and workshops to maximise opportunities the cruise sector offers will be also be available, with visual merchandising and social media training proposed for 2018. Any promotional opportunities and interview requests will also be shared among members.
An estimated 93 cruise ships will come into the Port in Invergordon this year, the highest number on record. This new cruise record equates to an 11% increase in the number of passengers, following on from last year’s 54% increase. These cruise passengers will boost the Highland economy by around £17 million, contributing to tourist attractions and tourism businesses across the region. It is also helping Invergordon to become a tourist destination in its own right.
Allison McGuire, cruise manager, Port of Cromarty Firth, said: “The Port of Cromarty Firth and local area have been welcoming cruise ships and their passengers for 40 years. Membership of the new Cruise and Crew Club will ensure a warm welcome to all visitors and creates a sustainable partnership approach to keeping this business in the Highlands for years to come.
“We have seen a steady increase in the number of cruise passengers visiting Invergordon over the years and 2018 will be no exception. This year we will continue to see some of the world’s largest cruise ships coming into the Port. This is really good news for businesses across the Highlands and plays a crucial role in supporting the creation of local jobs. We also must remember that the bigger ships can have up to 1,000 crew, who also add to the economy of Invergordon.”
As part of the initial club pilot scheme, many local businesses have already signed up. The owner of Tanstar Gifts, on Invergordon High Street, Sandra Munro, spoke enthusiastically of the Club: “It is my vision that the Cruise and Crew Club partnership between the Port of Cromarty Firth and local businesses will bring forward fresh new opportunities to the heart of Invergordon town centre and the surrounding area. I am confident in working together with the Cruise & Crew Club, we will be able to offer the best experience to all visitors to the Highlands of Scotland. Offering a truly Scottish welcome to all.”
Malcolm Harrison, owner of Crazy Horse Coffee Shop and Restaurant, in Invergordon, also said: “Seasonal income from cruise visitors adds the icing on the cake, and our decision to accept payments in Euros and US$ has proved a major factor in developing sales from international visitors. We support the new Cruise & Crew Club wholeheartedly – we have always been closely associated with the Port of Cromarty Firth and other tourism related organisations promoting Easter Ross since their inception - this allows us to work as a team and to have a bigger voice in decisions which affect our marketplace”.
Neil Hampton, general manager of the Royal Dornoch Golf Club added: “Tourism is a major part of the economy of the golf club and the growing number of cruise passengers becomes a more important factor every year. Consistency and quality of the service is vital in ensuring that they have a great time and then take that home to their friends and family to encourage them to visit this special place. To make this happen, we all need to work together on an agreed level of service and standards. The Cruise Club is the ideal vehicle to make that happen. Being part of the Cruise and Crew Club will allow Royal Dornoch to be seen as a quality attraction in the eyes of the passengers and will influence their decision on where to visit”.
The cruise season began with began with a surprise visit by the ‘Astoria’ arriving into the Port on the 27th March, carrying 500 passengers. The season will finish in September with the ‘Albatros’ carrying 800 passengers.
More details and information on joining the Port of Cromarty Firth Cruise and Crew Club is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org