Cardiff City is looking to the lucrative world of cruising as a way to increase tourism to the Welsh capital. The city hopes to become a major cruise destination after seeing a substantial impact on the local economy from ship visits since 2006.
Council bosses want to start work on renovating the harbour, spending £200,000 to ensure it can accommodate larger liners. Currently the harbour only takes ships carrying less than 1,200 passengers, so the council will be applying for European funding in the hope to gain financial support with the infrastructure.
UK port bosses Associated British Ports, have been in lengthy discussions with Cardiff council and a number of top cruise companies, in the hope they will add the Welsh capital to their list of destinations.
ABP’s director for South Wales, Matthew Kennerley, explained: ‘Increasingly Cardiff is proving itself as a port of choice for passengers wanting to experience all that Wales has to offer.’
Southampton port is the UK’s busiest port for ships and has generated almost £92million through cruises into the harbour. Cardiff Council are now making ambitious plans for their hub in a bid to become Southampton’s biggest rival.
Kennerley explained that they are ‘regularly in touch’ with companies like Fred Olsen, Saga, and Holland America, three major cruise companies with five-star ships and passengers with big budgets.
The World liner cruised into Cardiff city and became the largest ship to ever enter the capital’s harbour, measuring 644ft and weighing a staggering 43,000 tonnes. Its passengers, who are multimillionaires and come from 40 different countries, dined at Cardiff Castle and stopped off at the Millennium Stadium while visiting the city.
With a reported 85 per cent of cruise ship passengers rating their experience in Cardiff as excellent, it would seem they are figures which correspond strongly with Kennerley’s view that there has been ‘lots of interest’ and positive feedback.
Operational manager for tourism in Cardiff, Sally Edwards Hart said, ‘The city sells itself…we are approaching to invest into the area and we are negotiating at present.’
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