Port of Aberdeen is gearing up to welcome more than 100 cruise ships annually by 2027, promising a major economic boost for local businesses and communities
Cruise calls into Aberdeen have already increased by more than 130% since 2022, bringing a potential £4.5 million windfall to the city.
Kevin Stewart, MSP for Aberdeen Central, praised the cruise industry’s ability to bring greater tourism and spend to the local area. “We have already seen the positive impact that cruise ships have had on our local economy and, at a time where city centres are struggling, a potential £4.5 million boost will be huge for the Granite City,” he said.
The Port of Aberdeen expects to welcome more than 50 cruise ships this year, more than double the amount in 2022, with passenger numbers increasing tenfold, from 3,000 to 34,000.
With each cruise call to Scotland generating an average spend of £134 per passenger, the potential boost to the regional economy could total more than £4.5 million in 2024 and potentially exceed £20 million in subsequent years if guest numbers reach 150,000.
“I am delighted that Aberdeen will be hosting 50 cruise ships in 2024,” Stewart added. “This is a testament to the work being done by the Port of Aberdeen, the VisitAberdeenshire team and others.”
Port of Aberdeen to welcome a ‘new size and scale’ of cruise ship
The sharp rise in cruises has been aided by the port’s new Aberdeen South Harbour terminal. The hub will welcome a new size and scale of cruise ships this year, including Costa Favolosa, a 290m-long ship with a capacity exceeding 4,000 guests and crew, as well as the 253m-long AIDAsol and AIDAdiva.
Bob Sanguinetti, chief executive of Port of Aberdeen, said: “With South Harbour complete, we are fully focused on consolidating and accelerating growth in this key sector.
“This will be largely driven by increasing the number of larger cruise ships visiting the region and we’re having positive discussions with existing and prospective customers to secure this business.”
Local businesses and attractions are already seeing the positive impact cruising can have on the regional economy. Aberdeen Whisky Shop, for example, has expanded to accommodate whisky tasting for cruise tourists and St Machar’s Cathedral saw a 40% uplift in visitors, along with a 50% increase in donations and shop takings.
It comes after the Scottish government confirmed it was looking to crack down on the impact cruise tourists have on local communities and the emissions ships produce with the introduction of a new levy.