30/07/2001

Tourism lift as cruise liner docks in Belfast

Economy Minister Sir Reg Empey has welcomed the news that Northern Ireland is proving to be a popular pit stop for cruise liners, following the arrival of the eighth cruise liner to dock in Belfast this year.

The Minister was speaking on Monday 30 July, as he welcomed almost 400 passengers and 300 crew members from the R7 Renaissance Cruise Ship to Belfast docks. The R7 cruise ship was due to visit Belfast earlier this month but cancelled the visit due to concerns about civic disturbances.

Sir Reg said: “I am delighted that the R7 has come back to Belfast. The R7 passengers will have the chance to see Northern Ireland at first hand and, as word of mouth is the best PR, will act as positive ambassadors when they go back to their countries.

“Two years ago we had only two cruise liners, this year 15 ships are scheduled to visit Belfast - a clear demonstration of the potential for tourism development.”

The past few days have provided a great boost for the Northern Ireland tourist industry. The Milk Cup, which finished on Friday, attracted 13,000 participants from nineteen countries and five continents. The Senior British Open Golf Championships, which finished on Sunday, attracted around 20,000 visitors. This generated an estimated spend of almost £1million simply in terms of bed occupancy alone.

The passengers are from predominately from America. There are also passengers from Canada, Holland and Brazil on board. The cruise liner has travelled from Scotland and its next stop is Dublin. The R7 is due to leave Belfast on Monday evening at about 1700 hours.

The R7 is the seventh cruise ship to visit Belfast this year to date, a further eight cruise ships are expected to dock in Belfast before the start of October. (AMcE)

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