The historic cruise port in Cobh welcomes the first ship in two years with 90 vessels set to call, bringing a €70m boost to the economy

IRELAND’S most historic cruise port has received its first ship in over two years with 90 ships set to call over the next seven months, bringing a €70m boost to the national tourism economy.

obh hosted the MV Borealis, which became the first liner to berth in Cork Port since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020.

The profitable cruise ship trade has been among the hardest-hit sectors of the global tourism economy during the pandemic.

Now Dublin, Cork/Cobh and Belfast are hoping to revitalize the cruise trade as the fastest growing segment of the tourism sector.

The cruise ship trade is worth €14 million to Cork’s economy but more than €70 million to the national economy.

To mark the occasion, the Port of Cork, Cobh Chamber of Commerce and Cork Co Council held a special welcome ceremony for the MV Borealis which had arrived from the UK – with passengers using Cobh as a base for visits to Blarney, Waterford, Midleton, Cashel and other tourist attractions.

Last month, MV Viking became the first cruise ship to dock in Dublin.

Tourism officials acknowledged that 2022 will be crucial for the hospitality and entertainment industries given the terrible losses the pandemic has suffered since 2020.

The Port of Cork Company and Cruise Ireland have welcomed the long-awaited return of cruise lines after a two-year pandemic hiatus.

Cruise ships only returned to Irish ports after lengthy discussions between the government, health officials, cruise lines and port officials over robust public health protocols.

Port of Cork chief executive and Cruise Ireland chairman Conor Mowlds said it was exciting to see cruise lines finally returning to Irish ports after a two-year absence.

“This follows weeks and months of intensive work with stakeholders such as the Department for Transport and the HSE to ensure we have robust protocols in place to protect and ensure the trust of not only passengers but also our receiving port communities.

“We very much look forward to the return of cruise activity, the rebuilding and growth of the cruise sector, which plays such a crucial role in the country’s tourism and hospitality industry.”

Cruise Ireland is an inter-island organization whose membership includes all major players in the sector, with a primary focus on promoting the island of Ireland as a premier cruise destination.

Over the last 20 years it has helped Dublin, Belfast and Cork become the fastest developing cruise ship stopovers in Europe.

The Port of Cork is now hoping to welcome 90 cruise ships between April and November 2022, including some of the largest vessels at sea.

The cruise ship berth at Cobh is Ireland’s only liner berth. with a return of cruise ships vital to the city and its tourism economy.

The cruise ship trade is Ireland’s highest per capita spending element of the tourism industry – but has been decimated in a matter of weeks

Outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020.

Junior Transport Minister Hildegarde Naughton said about 95 cruise ships have tentatively booked to visit Dublin port this year.

A total of 28 will be berthed in the port, while a further 67 will be anchored in Dublin Bay.

In 2012 Ireland hosted a total of 57 cruise ships with a total number of passengers and crew of 87,193.

However, by 2019, that number had grown to 100 cruise ships and 241,646 passengers.

Shipping industry officials warned last summer that it could take two or three years for the global cruise industry to fully recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Worth an estimated €70 million to the Irish economy, the pandemic was a major blow to an industry that had expanded rapidly over the past 15 years after a decade-long decline after its heyday in the 1950s.

Such has been the recent expansion of the cruise sector in Ireland that Cobh, Ireland’s busiest liner port, considered the development of a second cruise ship berth at Lynch’s Quay.

In 2018 alone, a total of 157,000 passengers and 69,000 crew visited Cork, giving a €12 million boost to the economy of Cobh and Cork.

Cobh should welcome more than 100 ships in 2020. However, prior to the 2020 pandemic, only a single ship visited Cork.

The cruise ship business is the most lucrative element of Ireland’s tourism sector.

A study found that cruise ship passengers spend an average of €81 per visit – the highest spending element in Ireland’s tourism sector.

Whilst the cruise ship trade is extremely lucrative for the ports of Dublin and Cork, it has also had a massive side benefit for day trip destinations such as the Guinness Hop Store, the Jameson Distillery in Midleton, Blarney Castle and even Killarney.

In 2018, an estimated 27.2 million people cruised on more than 450 cruise lines worldwide. The historic cruise port in Cobh welcomes the first ship in two years with 90 vessels set to call, bringing a €70m boost to the economy

Fry Electronics Team

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