Cobh’s historic cruise liner port welcomes its first ship in two years with 90 ships visiting, delivering a €70m boost to the economy

IRELAND’s most historic cruise port has welcomed its first ship in over two years with 90 ships expected to visit over the next seven months, delivering a €70 million boost to the national tourism economy .

obh welcomed the MV Borealis, which became the first liner to dock in Cork Harbor since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in early 2020.

The big money-making cruise liner trade has been one of the hardest hit sectors of the global tourism economy during the pandemic.

Today Dublin, Cork/Cobh and Belfast are hoping to restore the cruise business as the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry.

The cruise liner trade is worth €14 million to Cork’s economy but over €70 million to the national economy.

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

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

Tourism officials have admitted that 2022 will be critically important for the hospitality and entertainment sectors given the horrific losses suffered by the pandemic since 2020.

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

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

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

“This follows weeks and months of intense collaboration with stakeholders such as the Department for Transport and the HSE to ensure that we have strong protocols in place to protect and ensure the confidence not only of passengers, but also our host port communities.

“We look forward to the return of cruise business, the rebuilding and growth of the cruise industry, which has such a crucial role to play for the country’s tourism and hospitality industries.”

Cruise Ireland is an ‘all-island’ body whose membership includes all key players in the industry, with its primary objective being to market the island of Ireland as a premier cruise destination.

Over the past 20 years it has helped Dublin, Belfast and Cork emerge as some of the fastest growing cruise liner ports of call in Europe.

The Port of Cork now hopes to welcome 90 cruise ships between April and November 2022, including some of the largest ships afloat.

The cruise berth at Cobh is the only dedicated cruise liner berth in Ireland. with a return of cruise liners critical to the city and its tourist economy.

The cruise liner trade is the highest per capita spender in Ireland’s tourism economy – but was decimated weeks after

Covid-19 erupting in 2020.

Junior Transport Minister Hildegarde Naughton said some 95 cruise liners have tentatively booked to visit Dublin Port this year.

A total of 28 are expected to dock in the harbor while a further 67 will anchor in Dublin Bay.

In 2012, Ireland hosted a total of 57 cruise liners with a total passenger and crew count of 87,193.

However, this figure had increased to 100 cruise liners and 241,646 passengers in 2019.

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

Worth an estimated £70million to Ireland’s economy, the pandemic has dealt a crippling blow to an industry that had grown rapidly over the past 15 years following decades of decline following its 1950s peak. .

The recent expansion of the cruise liner sector in Ireland was so significant that Cobh, Ireland’s busiest liner port, was considering the development of a second cruise liner berth at Lynch’s Quay.

A total of 157,000 passengers and 69,000 crew members visited Cork in 2018, adding €12 million to savings for Cobh and Cork.

Cobh was expected to accommodate over 100 ships in 2020. However, only one liner visited Cork before the pandemic hit in 2020.

The cruise ship business is the most lucrative element of the Irish tourism industry.

A study found that cruise liner passengers spend an average of €81 per visit – the highest spend item in the Irish tourism sector.

Additionally, while the cruise liner trade is hugely lucrative for the Ports of Dublin and Cork, it has also resulted in massive fallout for day trip destinations including the Guinness Hop Store, Jameson Distillery in Midleton, Blarney Castle and even Killarney.

In 2018, an estimated 27.2 million people will have taken a cruise vacation on more than 450 cruise ships worldwide.