The Cruise Lines International Association (Clia) has said Dublin Port’s decision to stop turnaround cruises and cut cruise calls in half is “very worrying”.
The reduction in access for cruise lines means that in summer 2021 just two large cruise ships will be able to call at the port each week. In winter, only one ship will be able to dock in Dublin each week.
According to the port’s chief executive, Eamonn O’Reilly, cruise comprises just one per cent of its total revenue. He said the decision to halve the number of cruise calls from 160 to 80 had been made to meet rising freight volumes.
Clia is concerned that the move will have a negative impact on Ireland’s cruise industry.
In a statement, Clia said the move was “surprising since the Port of Dublin has always valued the cruise business and seen major growth over the past 15 years. The port has also given valuable support to growing Ireland as a whole as a cruise destination. Ireland is a valued destination for the international cruise industry and a country which receives a great deal of economic benefit from cruise tourism, with 262,000 passengers having called at Irish ports in 2017.”
It said the port of Dublin is one of the most important ports in the area in terms of passenger throughput, and that stopping turnarounds will remove 120 calls per year and 100,000 passengers from the port.
“That loss equates to approximately a reduction of €10 million in tourist revenue for Dublin alone, not to mention the knock-on effect at the other ports across the island of Ireland,” Clia said.
The association’s latest economic impact study, published in 2017, found that each visit at a European port generates an average total expenditure of around €90 for passengers and crew, rising to €294 for embarking passengers (including airfares). Direct cruise industry expenditures in Ireland amounted to several million euros in 2017, placing Ireland in the top 15 countries of Europe.
Clia added: “We believe this decision has been taken without considering the impact it will have on the other ports in Ireland, and on Ireland itself. The number of cruise calls will dramatically drop across all Irish ports as a result of the Port of Dublin’s plans. We urge the port to reconsider its decision and to work with the Irish Government and the cruise industry to build cruise tourism sustainably across Ireland moving forward.”