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Bantry targets boutique cruise liners at trade fair in Florida

March 28th, 2016 5:05 PM

By Siobhan Cronin

The Club Med 2 ship was one of the cruise liners which visited West Cork last year. (Photo: Niall Duffy)

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THE Port of Cork company will promote Bantry as a destination for ‘boutique’ cruise liners at the Seatrade Cruise Global, the cruise industry’s premier global event, this week in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 

Seatrade Cruise Global is one of the key events in the cruise calendar and guarantees to bring together every facet of the business including cruise lines, suppliers, travel agents and partners. 

The Port of Cork will attend as an exhibitor on the Cruise Ireland and Cruise Europe stand, increasing the profile of the Port of Cork and the Cork region.

‘This event is without doubt the epicentre of the cruise industry and so maintaining recognition at this event is key to Cork’s future cruise strategy,’ said Captain Michael McCarthy, Port of Cork commercial manager. 

‘Some of the industry’s most knowledgeable delegates will attend and speak at the conference, so networking opportunities are substantial.’

 He said the Port of Cork’s cruise strategy for the next five years will focus on promoting the region and all it has to offer to potential cruise passengers, as well as expanding business. 

‘Our relationship with the cruise lines is excellent and they are very aware of what the port can handle in terms of ship size. Our challenge now is to make sure the cruise companies know exactly what there is to see and do for their passengers while visiting Cork and that is why we will be marketing the Cork City and County region at Seatrade Cruise Global.’

 In 2016 the Port of Cork will welcome 58 cruise liners to Cobh and over the next five years aims to increase these calls to 75. 

The Port of Cork is currently exploring the feasibility of a second cruise berth in Cobh, which would greatly enhance Cork’s cruise offering. 

This global cruise event is a key opportunity to further sell Cork as a cruise destination and to interact and liaise with the key decision makers within cruise companies.

 Captain McCarthy is also the current chairman of Cruise Europe and says having a presence at these trade events is vital to sell your business.

  The Port of Cork will take the opportunity at Seatrade Cruise Global to launch their new cruise brochure aimed at marketing the Cork region. 

A Port of Cork spokeswoman added that West Cork features in the new brochure, and said: ‘While in Seatrade, the Port of Cork will be promoting Bantry Bay Port Company to the smaller boutique cruise lines.’

Cpt McCarthy added that  the cruise industry is a difficult industry to enter, but once you do, you must work hard at maintaining relationships and keeping informed of the opportunities and threats to the industry. 

‘It’s important for any port to ensure their cruise offering is kept alive and fresh, as with many cruise companies some passengers are repeat passengers who want to experience something different and new on every cruise.’

 One of the main topics at the conference this year at which Cpt McCarthy is a speaker is ‘Seasonality and Deployment’ and he will be emphasising the opportunities of expanding the cruise season in northern Europe. 

The topics covered will relate to ship design and suitability, climate and weather and port and regional tourism products over the winter period. 

The session will debate the tourism offering in winter versus summer, and include topics such as Christmas markets and winter sports and events throughout our region.

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