With no less than five cruise ships visiting Peterhead this summer, the town and local area certainly hasn’t ‘missed the boat’ on tourism, says Aberdeenshire Council.
The common belief that passengers were being whisked away to Royal Deeside and beyond when visiting the port has been dismissed by Peterhead’s town centre officer, who says many have taken time to visit the Blue Toon itself.
Heather Barclay, who went aboard three of the five cruise ships with tourist information, said that many passengers stayed local when they left the ship.
She told the Buchanie: “About a third of passengers take organised trips, one third stay on board and the rest do their own thing - and many of them chose to stay in Peterhead.
“We issued them with Town Trail maps - and quite a few of them did that - pointed them in the direct of the Prison Museum and Arbuthnot Museum and provided them with details of local cafes and restaurants and shops. They were given the information as they came off the boat.
“We also gave them information on Aden Country Park and on the castle and whisky trail.
“During Scottish Week the gala chairman Terry Moran and committee member Marie Robertson were on hand to give them details of what was on that day, and I believe a few of them took part in the town walk,” said Heather. We had very positive feedback from those who did stay local and the town centre was definitely busier when the cruise ships were in port, so for people to say that all the spending money went out of town is not true.
“Yes, there were some organised tours up to Banff and on to Portsoy, but quite a few of the passengers just did their own thing,” she added.
Peterhead Port Authority also benefited from the visitors this year.
Deputy chief executive, Stephen Paterson, told The Buchanie: “It was encouraging to see five cruise vessels calling at Peterhead and we always try to make the passengers feel welcome.
“A shuttle bus and piper were arranged, but of course it helps immensely if they are lucky with the weather.
In total we welcomed around 2,000 passengers this season,” he added.