5-year strategy must include cruise ship opportunities for Peterhead

Cruise ships such as the Sea Cloud which visited Peterhead last month offer economic opportunities for the town
Cruise ships such as the Sea Cloud which visited Peterhead last month offer economic opportunities for the town

A Buchan councillor has urged Visitaberdeenshire not to overlook the economic opportunities afforded by cruise ships visiting Peterhead.

Members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee heard yesterday (Thursday), that five cruise ships docked in the town during last year and five more are scheduled to arrive during 2019.

Peterhead South & Cruden SNP councillor Stephen Smith argued that VisitAberdeenshire needs to support local efforts to provide information to visitors from cruise ships and not just focus on Aberdeen Harbour, which is the only port referenced in the policy document.

Councillor Smith said: “Around one third of cruise ship passengers opt to stay in port and not go on scheduled excursions.

"This, along with the needs of several hundred crew who get free time during their ship’s time in port, means there are valuable opportunities for local businesses.

“Currently, local efforts have seen several of the cruise ships provided with ‘welcome desks’ staffed by locals offering information on local attractions such as Aden Country Park, Peterhead Prison Museum, Arbuthnot Museum, and so on.

“VisitAberdeenshire needs to recognise the opportunities here in their strategy and commit to supporting the efforts to get more local spend from cruise ship visitors in Peterhead and Buchan.

“The efforts by the local team heading up the ‘welcome desk’ initiative have been well-received by cruise passengers and resulted in visits being made locally which may not otherwise have happened. This initiative needs to be built-on and supported formally by VisitAberdeenshire.”