Bantry Bay Port Company will hold a cruise seminar in the Maritime Hotel, Bantry on Thursday 29th August 2019 to launch their cruise strategy for Bantry. Entitled ‘Collectively Growing Cruise Tourism in Bantry’ the seminar is aimed at local attractions and businesses in the area and is an opportunity to get an insight into the cruise industry in Ireland and globally and how Bantry can capitalise on this market while remaining sensitive to Bantry harbour and its environs.
The Port of Cork, who control and operate Bantry Bay Port Company has a wealth of experience when it comes to the cruise industry. Since 1990, Cobh has been handling cruise liners with over 100 calls in 2019 and some of the largest vessels visiting.
Bantry Bay Port Company operates as a tender port with no dedicated cruise berth; however, this will not impede Bantry from growing. The smaller cruise liner market or ‘expedition’ market has huge growth potential and it is this market that Bantry hopes to capitalise on over the next few years, with the guidance of the Port of Cork.
The expedition market, once a small niche, is now set for dramatic growth with 40 or more ships already on order for the 2023 market. Both new entrants and established cruise lines, ranging from Celebrity Cruises to Crystal Cruises, Hapag Lloyd, Hurtigruten, Seabourn Cruise Line and Silversea Cruises, have each announced plans for new expedition cruise ships. This expedition market is all about the experience for passengers on smaller vessels which can easily access remote places that the larger cruise liners cannot.
Port of Cork Chief Executive Brendan Keating said: ‘The destination is the centre stage and the ship is the vehicle to get there. In this case, Bantry is the main attraction and we need to attract the right vessels for passengers to see this beautiful part of the world. However, we (Port of Cork) cannot do it alone and that is why we want to collectively grow this business with the local area and the many exciting attractions and businesses.’
He continued: ‘ As the cruise business in Bantry continues to grow, a wider and united approach with the county council, shore excursion companies, local tourism organisations and attractions is needed to promote the region and the activities which cruise passengers can enjoy during their visit.’
Speaking at the cruise seminar in Bantry will be Conor Mowlds Chairman of Cruise Ireland, Chris Coates Group Commercial Director for Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Derry Cronin Specialised Travel Services, Michael McCarthy Chairman of Cruise Europe and Michael Pat Murphy and Assistant Harbour Master Bantry Bay Port Company.
In 2019, Bantry handled 10 cruise liner calls bringing over 8,000 passengers and crew. In 2020 there are 14 calls with some repeat visitors and maiden calls expected.