Questions to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Mr Leo Varadkar, TD)
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if an economic impact assessment has been carried out on the impact of cruise liners; if he will provide specific details of the number of cruises using the Port of Cork and the economic impact of these cruises on the region; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer.
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the efforts being made to increase the number of cruise liners visiting Ireland through the Port of Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 16th July, 2013.
I propose to answer question 1163 and 1164 together.
The Port of Cork is a member of Cruise Ireland, a marketing co-operative formed in 1994 to promote the island of Ireland as a premier cruise destination. Fáilte Ireland works closely with Cruise Ireland and has provided funding to them to promote the sector.
The Port of Cork has enjoyed a steady increase in the number of cruise vessels calling at its facilities in recent years with 2012 being a record year for the port as 57 vessels called bringing 87,193 passengers and crew to the region. This year the port expects further growth and is on course to welcome 61 vessels and 135,386 passengers and crew.
It is important to recognise that the cruise industry is not a lucrative source of revenue for port companies themselves and that it can be difficult for investments in this area to remunerate themselves from the charges of ports levies. However, such visits do provide considerable benefit for the local and wider regional economy.
All cruise infrastructure developments must be funded by the ports from their own resources on a commercial basis or through collaboration with those beneficiaries of cruise tourism, be they regional interests or the cruise operators themselves.
More generally, the development of cruise tourism is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland. I have referred the Deputy’s questions to the agency for further information and direct reply. Please contact my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.