Aberdeen is now in the “premier league of UK cruise ports” thanks to a record-breaking cruise season at South Harbour, with 2024 on course to be even better.
The Port of Aberdeen welcomed 43 cruise calls between May and October this year and already 55 calls have been confirmed so far for 2024.
Bob Sanguinetti, Chief Executive of Port of Aberdeen, said: “South Harbour has moved Aberdeen into the premier league of UK cruise ports and is transformational for tourism in the North East of Scotland. More than 250 cruise ships sail past Aberdeen every year, and we want to attract as much of that business to the port as we can.”
Local businesses in the city and shire have benefitted from the increase in cruise tourism this year, with cruise calls to Scotland generating an average spend of £134 per passenger per call.
Adrian Watson, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “There is no doubt our city centre is riding on a welcome wave of success thanks to the record-breaking cruise season at the Port of Aberdeen.
“Each ship that arrives at the new South Harbour brings a massive influx of visitors into the heart of the Granite City, all of them enjoying - and boosting - the great shops, restaurants, bars and attractions we have.
“So much so, that many of our levy payers have told us businesses is booming, with some delighted to report their best season in several years, thanks to the arrival of thousands of passengers.
“Cruise ships are transforming the tourism industry in Aberdeen and the north-east, becoming a major driver for footfall and growth in the Granite City. With even more calls already in place for 2024, the cruise ship sector has set course to become an economic powerhouse for Aberdeen and the region.”
VisitAberdeenshire’s ‘Welcome to Aberdeenshire’ volunteering programme has been pivotal in providing cruise guests a unique experience when they arrive in the city. The volunteers play a significant role in educating and assisting guests in discovering what Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire has to offer.
Chris Foy, CEO of VisitAberdeenshire, said “The ‘Welcome to Aberdeenshire’ volunteers have been a mainstay during the cruise season and have inspired and guided arriving guests. Their dedication and enthusiasm for the region is hugely valued, and we will begin recruiting for new volunteers later in the year.
“Demand for future visits indicates that the South Harbour and the wider region have already impressed cruise operators. We will continue to work closely with Port of Aberdeen, and with shore excursion companies to both attract more vessels and to disperse excursions across the City and Shire.”
The Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Dr David Cameron, said: “For me, one of the most pleasing aspects has been the positive feedback from visitors about their time in Aberdeen and I am sure they will have gone home spreading the word to families and friends about what our city and region has to offer.”