Tourism boost as Greenock cruise terminal opened after £100K upgrade
The new arrivals hall at Greenock Ocean Terminal's cruise liner facility was officially opened on Wednesday 1st July 2009 following a striking £100K upgrade.
Clydeport, Riverside Inverclyde and Inverclyde Council funded the partnership project, which has vastly improved both the appearance and functionality of the arrivals hall - the first experience thousands of overseas cruise passengers every year have of Scotland.
The modern new arrivals facility within the existing building was opened by Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson. The event also celebrated the visit to Greenock today of the biggest cruise ship ever to come to Scotland, the 3110-passenger, 950-foot superliner Crown Princess.
The new upgraded terminal includes:
• Large scale imagery celebrating Scotland’s history and culture.
• A centrepiece local information point staffed by Inverclyde Tourist Group.
• State of the art lighting, flooring and décor
• A security facility to new ports legislation standard
Ocean Terminal was officially opened 40 years ago as a specialist container terminal, but over the years last 20 years it has diversified to be one of Scotland’s best cruise facilities with natural deep water.
The terminal was built on the site of Princess Quay, which has had a long association with cruise ships dating as far back as 1875.
Ocean Terminal is fast becoming an important cruise port, vital to Scottish tourism as a gateway for overseas visitors. This year 29 liners will dock at Greenock in the cruise season between April and October, bringing 41,129 passengers - an increase of 34% on 2008.
The Crown Princess brought passengers from 25 countries to Scotland, from as far as Japan, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and the USA.
The superliner is a floating village, with nine restaurants , a two-level spa and fitness centre, three theatres and a huge Movies Under the Stars outdoor on-deck film screen over the pool.
Many of the passengers disembarked for an experience of Scotland, including bus tours to as far afield as Glasgow and Edinburgh. However a substantial number spend money in Greenock, as do crews taking advantage of shore leave.
It is estimated that Greenock's cruise business now brings £1m a year into the local economy.
Opening the new facility, Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said: “I congratulate Clydeport and its partners on this excellent upgrade. These first class facilities will provide the increasing numbers of visitors to our shores with a fantastic first impression of Scotland and encourage them to return for more of our famous hospitality."
Andrew Hemphill, Clydeport's operations manager at Ocean Terminal, said: "Year on year we are building the cruise business at Greenock, and 2009 will be the best to date. We have also been improving the facilities year on year, for example last season we built new toilets and a washroom and installed external marquees.
"However, this year the upgrade has had a major visual effect on our arrivals hall, which until now has been essentially a modified port shed. Displays are to modern exhibition standard, celebrating Scotland’s tourist offering.
"This is an exciting enhancement of our facility, and we are delighted that our partners at Riverside Inverclyde and Inverclyde Council have supported us in recognition of the important part our cruise business plays in the local economy.
"Our arrivals hall is the first experience overseas cruise passengers have of Scotland, and we are delighted that experience has now been greatly enhanced, giving a positive impression both of our town and our country.
"In addition to the local tourist information point, there is also some limited space being made available to local companies looking to set up stalls to market their produce to cruise visitors."
Clydeport is a member of Cruise Scotland, a new organisation launched in March at the Seatrade Cruise Shipping Miami Exhibition to promote and market the country's ports and many visitor attractions internationally.
Bill Nicol, CEO of Riverside Inverclyde, said: “We are committed to enhancing the image and perception of Inverclyde, and supporting these improvements has given an opportunity to provide facilities to showcase Greenock, our natural and built environment, our heritage and our arts and crafts produce."
Councillor Jim Clocherty, convener of Inverclyde Council’s regeneration committee, said: “We are delighted to have worked with Clydeport and Riverside Inverclyde on this project. Inverclyde is on the national map as a place that is constantlly changing for the better, and this upgrade of the cruise facilities at Greenock is one more piece in the jigsaw.”
After leaving Greenock, Crown Princess will sail to Invergordon as part of her 12-night British Isles cruise which started on 25 June in Southampton.