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Cruise ships to bring huge revenue to South West

Destination South West's most successful seminar was held at Pendennis Castle on Thursday 20th March. Sixty-five delegates from in and around Falmouth came to hear Director of Cruise Operations Bob Harrison explain how businesses can give disembarking cruise passengers an unforgettable experience and how that experience will produce a lucrative return.

In the year since DSW was set up by the 18 partners from seven ports, local councils and attractions, the number of cruise ships calling at Falmouth has risen from 23 to 49. Mike Reynolds, Operations Manager for Falmouth Docks, gave attendees a list of the names and dates the ships will visit in 2003, starting with the Black Prince on 21st March.

With each passenger expected to spend an average of £50, this lucrative section of tourism will bring £2.2 million to Falmouth and its hinterland during 2003. Crew members often spend as much, so attention needs to be paid to them as well. Both holidaymakers and locals will be attracted to the port to look at the cruise ships – and they bring their spending power too.

Bob Harrison said that because service on board ship is of the highest standard, passengers expect the same level of attention once they step ashore, so businesses must be ready with a smile and all the information which might be required – from offering dollars and euros, to knowledge of shipping procedures and evening opening on Sundays or for late shopping if a cruise ship arrives out of normal business hours.

He explained that 42% of cruise visitors will return if the experience has been friendly and enjoyable.

Delegate Colin Reid, Visitor Officer of Truro Cathedral, said that DSW was an excellent initiative since it enabled many small businesses to pool resources to do 'joined up marketing, keying into the expertise and skills of Bob Harrison'. New Falmouth Town Centre Manager Peter Rugg who did a magnificent job in informing local companies about the seminar was pleased with the wide range of people who attended who will get together and help each other. Peter Gliddon of Pendennis Castle has already seen the benefits from the cruise ships last year, so after suffering the effects of foot and mouth, it was good to see the increasing spend in the shop and café.

Bob Harrison has been in the cruise industry for over 30 years and knows all the senior managers in the 80 cruise companies which operate in Europe. A CD brochure and website have been produced, highlighting all the attractions in and around each port. By attending the seminars, businesses are entitled to appear on these marketing tools, and the CD will be in the library of all cruise ships calling at DSW ports, so passengers will be able to decide what to do and where to go before disembarking. Dates, times and names of cruise ships will all be displayed on the website to enable businesses to plan opening times accordingly.

Douglas Ward, President of the Maritime Evaluation Agency and author of the Berlitz Guide to Cruising, who is responsible for grading all cruise ships around the world and who therefore has tremendous influence within the industry, is DSW's Hon Chairman.

The first seminar was held in Dartmouth, followed by Plymouth, Torquay, St Mary's on Scilly and Penzance. A seminar will be held at Fowey at a later date, and probably also at Ilfracombe which has just joined the partnership. A total of 167 delegates have attended, many of whom set up committees to implement plans to co-ordinate a memorable welcome for arriving passengers. Networking opportunities were also exploited amongst attending delegates.

Funding for these seminars has been provided by the Tourism Skills Network, Marine South West and Trade Partners UK.


Editor's notes:

Destination South West is a partnership of the public and private sectors including the ports of Isles of Scilly, Penzance, Falmouth, Fowey, Plymouth, Dartmouth, Torbay and Ilfracombe. It is funded by the European Regional Development through the Objective One and Two Programmes. It also receives funding through the South West Regional Development Agency.

For further information please contact Teresa Timms at Cornwall Enterprise on 01872 322907 or 07968 515532 or Bob Harrison at Destination South West on 01803 771136 or 07974 950990.



Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388

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