CRUISE LINERS PASSING majestically in the distance along the Moray Coast could be a thing of the past if local tourism chiefs and Moray Council have their way.
Council leader Stewart Cree has been in talks on Monday at the Convention of the Highlands and Islands, which took place at the Alexander Graham Bell Centre in Elgin earlier this week.
Councillor Cree said that he had found it useful talking to delegates from the west coast who have seen a growing number of visitors to their communities as a result of cruise ships calling in to local ports.
“Places like Orkney and Invergordon have really benefited from cruise ship visits,” the Moray convener said, adding: “authorities fortunate enough to attract these ships are reporting significant economic benefits.”
The Council are investigating what it would take to create landing facilities for cruise ships that are a familiar sight in Moray as they drift past on their way along the Moray Firth passing to and from Orkney and Invergordon.
According to Moray/Speyside tourism operations manager Cameron Taylor, there is absolutely no reason why they should not call in at Moray ports.
Cameron is no stranger to the liners, having been director of tourism in Orkney. He said: “The constraint at the moment is that the nearest cruise liner port is Invergordon, which is too far away for passengers to come off and have a relaxing exploration of Moray.
“But if we could get passengers off the liners in the Moray Firth then we may be able to open up the area to some new avenues of visitor trade.”
While it is early days Cameron added that the Council and Moray/Speyside Tourism are conducting a study of the size of the potential market and costs of advertising to cruise liner operators.