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Friday 24 February 2017

Plans for capital to cash in on cruise ship tourism

Fergal Gallagher

THE capital is planning to promote cruise tourism and bring millions of euro into the local economy.

Dublin City Council is hoping to cash in on the fastest growing sector in global tourism.

Aboard the 288m-long 'Crown Princess' ocean liner at Dublin Port yesterday, officials outlined a strategy that would include the building of a new terminal next to the East Link toll bridge, improved connectivity to the city centre and the provision of a visitors' centre in the docklands area.

But there is no timeline for when -- or if -- the work would be completed.

"Cruise tourism is only in its infancy in Dublin and the potential for growth is enormous relative to what's happening in Europe and globally," said Jim Keogan, executive manager of the council's planning department.

Cruise-ship tourism generates more than €18bn annually worldwide, and the European cruise-ship market has grown by 165pc since 1998.

Mr Keogan said each of the 3,000 passengers from the Crown Princess will spend on average of €150 in the city.

Strategy

The strategy also advocates the establishment of a new agency to promote cruise traffic as well as longer term strategies to make Dublin more tourist-friendly by decreasing anti-social behaviour in the city centre.

Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar said the 85 cruisers docking this year would generate between €35m and €55m for the local economy and that the new plan should help to attract more tourists and create jobs.

Later this year, smaller cruise ships will be able to dock next to the East Link toll bridge in an effort to make the city more visible from the decks of the liners.

The new location will also allow easier access to the city via the Luas station at the O2 concert venue and the expanded Dublin city bike scheme.

It is hoped that in the future, a revamped and extended terminal beside the East Link bridge will allow larger liners, such as the Crown Princess, to dock there, bringing high spending tourists closer to the city centre.

"We want to improve the connectivity between the port and the city and it can be done without spending huge amounts of money," said Mr Keogan. "In the longer term, money will be required to upgrade facilities and build a terminal."

Irish Independent

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