Cruise ship boom hopes to bring £20m through new harbour to city

This year marks a significant rise in visitor numbers to the brand new port.

The boom in the cruise ship industry in Aberdeen hopes to bring over £20m to the city.

The port in the north east is gearing up to welcome over 100 cruise ships every year by 2027, as the highest number of vessels yet to arrive this year with 50 expected.

The number of cruises calling in Aberdeen has led to an increase in guest numbers from around 3,000 up to the 34,000 expected in 2024.

The arrival of larger ships at the port’s new south harbour is expected to generate around £4.5m this year and could exceed £20m in years to come.

Visitors on average spend around £134 each when docking from a cruise in Scotland, with the 290m-long Costa Favolosa, a ship that can carry 4,000 guests and crew, to arrive in July.

Bob Sanguinetti, CEO of Port of Aberdeen said: “With South Harbour complete, we are fully focused on consolidating and accelerating growth in this key sector.

The arrival of more ships has had a direct financial impact on the city say local businesses. Photo: Port of Aberdeen.

“This will be largely driven by increasing the number of larger cruise ships visiting the region and we’re having positive discussions with existing and prospective customers to secure this business. 

“We’re confident that our world-class facility, coupled with the amazing destination, will position Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire as one of the UK’s top cruise destinations.”

Kevin Stewart, SNP MSP for Aberdeen Central, said: “I am delighted that Aberdeen will be hosting 50 cruise ships in 2024.

“This is a testament to the work being done by the Port of Aberdeen, the VisitAberdeenshire team and others.  

“We have already seen the positive impact that cruise ships have had on our local economy and, at a time where city centres are struggling, a potential £4.5m boost will be huge for the Granite City.

“Aberdeen has a huge amount to offer and it is no surprise that we are becoming one of the top destinations for cruises in the UK.”

The Costa Favolosa will dock at Aberdeen in July carrying up to 4,000 guests. Photo: Port of Aberdeen.

The city’s St Machar’s Cathedral experienced a 40% uplift to 42,000 visitors, along with a 50% increase in donations and shop takings.

Sarah Brown, minister of the cathedral, said: “We are delighted to welcome visitors from the newly arrived cruise ships to Aberdeen.

“It is great to see busloads of faces light up as they encounter our unique space and chance to encounter God in this special place in the history of the church and city.

“We hope as more people come, the better our welcome will become through our conversations together.”

Chris Foy, CEO of VisitAberdeenshire, said: “The growth in calls for 2024 is a vote of confidence in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire as an emerging cruise destination.

“VisitAberdeenshire is scaling up its work to enhance the welcome offered to passengers, the readiness of local suppliers and to secure more business from cruise operators and shore excursion companies.”

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