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Displaying items by tag: Belfast Visitor & Convention Bureau (BVCB)

#BelfastCruiseCalls – The 2013 season will bring a record 57 cruiseships and more than 100,000 visitors to Belfast Harbour, compared to last year when only 44 cruiseships docked with 75,000 passengers, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Tourists from all corners of the globe are to visit Northern Ireland, having booked cruises with leading operators, among them Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Celebrity, MSC, Thomson, Fred Olsen Cruise Line and Saga Cruises. The first caller of the season is the ultra-luxury Hebridean Princess, when she is to make a port of call in April.

Last month, Cruise Critic UK, the leading source of cruise information on the web, named Belfast as 'Best UK Port of Call' in their Editors' Picks Awards 2012.

The continuing success of Belfast as a destination to an international cruise market has been built from the efforts of Cruise Belfast, a marketing initiative between Belfast Harbour and Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau (BVCB).

Anne McMullan from BVCB said "Cruise travel globally is one of the fastest growing and highly competitive areas of tourism and the record-breaking cruise ship numbers arriving in Belfast are a testament to the city's tourism success and how far we have come".

Asides the new Titanic Belfast Centre, which has arguably done for the city what the Guggenheim did for Bilbao, the port acts as a 'gateway' to the rest of Northern Ireland, where attractions are within a short coach trip to the Giants Causeway, Mount Stewart and St Patrick's Country.

Published in Belfast Lough
28th February 2012

Cruiseship Boost for Belfast

#CRUISE LINERS-Belfast Harbour looks forward to another bumper year as cruise operators are to increase by 32% compared to last year, with 41 cruise ships bringing almost 75,000 visitors to the port.

The following major operators are to visit: Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Saga Cruise and others will dock from far flung destinations.

At over 1km long, Stormont Wharf, will again be the main berth for cruiseships in particular the ability to accommodate an increasing trend in larger class vessels touring the Irish Sea. The wharf was extended in recent years at a cost of £10m and is the longest deepwater quay in Ireland.

To promote Belfast Harbour as a cruiseship destination, the port and the Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau (BVCB) set up the Cruise Belfast Initiative to market the location internationally.

For further information visit www.cruise-belfast.co.uk and to view the seasons schedule of cruise callers click HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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