Cruise liner brings tourist boost to Falmouth
Nearly 3,000 cruise ship tourists sailed into Falmouth Harbour on board the Caribbean Princess.
The 112,000-tonne American ship carried 2,930 passengers into the popular Cornish resort for a day trip – and almost 2,000 of them made their way into the town with the rest taking coach tours to destinations in other parts of Cornwall.
The Port of Falmouth Development Initiative, which is behind a bid make the harbour deep enough for larger vessels, believes this week's arrival underlines the need for dredging.
Representatives from A&P Falmouth, Falmouth Harbour Commissioners, Cornwall Council, Pendennis Shipyard, Falmouth Petroleum Ltd and Cornwall Development Company all back the project.
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Mike Reynolds, port operations director at A&P Falmouth said: "It is impossible to underestimate the importance of cruise calls to the local economy."
This year, so far 34 cruises and around 24,000 passengers have stopped in Falmouth – 6,000 up on last year. Visitors from cruise ships spend more than £1.3 million a year in Cornwall.
Mr Reynolds said: "Five years ago Falmouth handled 60,000 cruise callers per annum, but as cruise liners and other vessels get bigger then the older, smaller ships that use Falmouth now are being pensioned off and Falmouth is down to 24,000 passengers this year."
He said vessels like the 340-metre-long Freedom of the Seas, with 4,000 passengers, could put nearly £500,000 into the Cornish economy in one day.
Following objections from environmentalists on the impact of dredging on Falmouth's important maerl beds – which act as habitat for sea-life – a dredging trial begins on September 17.