BANTRY Bay looks set to become a must-stop destination for luxury expedition cruises.
Businesses, tourism groups and Bantry Bay Port Company are working on a strategy which would appeal to what they call ‘a new wave of passenger’ who enjoys exclusive travel to remote places.
This emerged as the company announced they welcomed nine cruise calls in 2018 bringing over 8,000 passengers and crew to the region, with a welcome economic boost.
Cruise calls to the area have grown over the last two years and the company want that to continue, particularly by targeting the luxury traveller.
Brendan Keating, chief executive, Port of Cork, said: ‘Bantry Bay is an ideal location for expedition vessels to visit and together with local businesses, tourism groups and business groups, Bantry Bay Port Company will focus on developing an all-inclusive cruise strategy for Bantry over the next few months. Luxury expedition cruises are appealing to a new wave of passenger and we need to have the right shore excursions on offer and ensure the region is ready to welcome these passengers.’
With up to 27 expedition vessels currently on order, the company will target this market over the next few years. Expedition vessels are an exclusive part of the shipping industry, providing passengers with comfort and luxury and a great visitor experience. Over the last three years, luxury expedition cruises have grown by 22%.
Most expedition vessels are smaller in length and carry fewer passengers, so they can easily access more locations.