Work is under way on Greenock’s new cruise terminal and visitor centre.
People and businesses are looking forward to the opportunities the regular arrival of cruise ships bring to the area to help bounce back from the pandemic.
The development of the new terminal was delayed by the construction company falling into liquidation and then Covid restrictions halted works further.
The £19.2m centre will be home to the new gateway for arrivals, a visitor centre and art gallery. It’s all part of plans to make sure when visitors come they have a reason to stay.
The site will be complete next summer in time for peak-season and although only a dozen ships are expected to dock at Greenock before the end of this year, more than 100 are already scheduled for 2022.
Elizabeth Terris, chair of the Inverclyde Tourist Group, told STV News: “It’s about rebuilding the economy and keeping as many people here as possible so that they can see what we have to offer, here, immediately in Inverclyde and slightly further afield.
Looking to the long-term future, Ms Terris said, “It’s right down from the Scottish Government to the local councillors, who will really make it their business, I hope, to harness the improvements for Inverclyde and introduce Inverclyde to the wider world.”
Tonino’s Pizzeria is just metres from the original entrance to the cruise terminal.
Restaurant owner Anthony Bonatti said: “Crews would come in their tens and twenties late at night and that would be quite regular as well.
“You would definitely notice it directly into the business and I’m sure there were indirect benefits from the local taxi drivers and bus drivers, they are our customers too.”
Councillor Stephen McCabe, leader of Inverclyde Council, said: “We want people from near and far to discover Inverclyde and making a positive first impression with a striking visitor centre – coupled with our famous warm and friendly welcome – will help to do that and encourage our guests to return again in the future.”