Holyhead Cruise Ship Bookings 2011 Boost
by Peter Jones
Early bookings for cruise ship visits to Holyhead in summer 2011 have increased significantly. Fifteen cruise liners visited the Anglesey port this year and the number is expected to increase to 18 next year.
Estimates suggest that as many as 20,000 high net worth passengers will come to Holyhead, bringing a further boost of spending power to the island.
The amount spent by cruise liner passengers varies but estimates are for amounts between £15 and £125, which translates roughly to between a £2.0 and £2.5 million injection into the island economy.
With the visit of ships such as Europa, Westerdam, Prinsendam, Crystal Symphony, Saga Ruby, Le Diamante and others, Holyhead Port has hosted a number of established North European cruise liners.
Looking ahead to 2011 and beyond even bigger cruise ships like Crown Princess and Emerald Princess are likely candidates for visits.
Crucial in securing visits from ever larger cruise ships however, will be getting up to date and appropriate port facilities to accommodate these mega cruise liners.
Political pressure is being applied on the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) in Cardiff to contribute to investing in improved berthing facilities.
In the past visitng cruise ships had to anchor off Holyhead Breakwater, but this sometimes caused difficulties when
the wind was in the wrong direction and sea conditions made using the tender an uncomfortable experience for passengers.
More recently the Anglesey Aluminium Metal Limited (AAM) jetty in Holyhead outer harbour has been used but it is felt this needs upgrading if the larger vessels are to be accommodated.
The fear amongst local businesses and politicians is that the port of Liverpool could steal a march on Holyhead in what is a fiercely competitive cruise market.
Encouragingly both Stena Line, owners of Holyhead Port, and Anglesey Aluminium are willing to co-operate with the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) to ensure the best outcome is achieved for the town and Anglesey.
It would appear the WAG commissioned Hyder Report on port infrastructure is likely to conclude that existing berthing facilities at the Anglesey Aluminium jetty in Holyhead are only suitable for ships up to and including 300 metres.
If the island is to attract vessels over 300 metres on a regular basis then the current infrastructure needs to be improved.
For the sake of the local economy and so local businesses and jobs, let's hope for concerted action on improving these port facilities.
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