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Cruise Isle of Man "delighted" with passenger record

Around 11,000 visitors expected by end of 2019

In September 2018, as the cruise tourism season came to an end, government figures said it was a record year for the Island, with more passengers coming to Manx waters than ever before.

Fast-forward to this summer, and staff at Cruise Isle of Man say they are "delighted" that record has been broken yet again in 2019, but also that the record was broken so early in the season.

In mid-July, the organisation said the 8,392nd passenger had visited, surpassing the total which was set the previous year, with 16 ships still to come.

Although a new record tally was anticipated, Peter Bashforth says the speed at which it was broken was surprising:

New efforts have been put into bolstering the industry on the Island of late, including a new promotion launched by government earlier this year, partly in an attempt to more accurately measure the economic value of passengers who come ashore by ship.

The impact of that initiative has yet to be revealed.


Credit: Cruise Isle of Man

How big could the sector get?

With the back end of this year's cruise tourism season still to come, it's estimated the total number of passengers could reach around 11,000 by the end of 2019.

But, Mr Bashforth says the only way to dramatically increase the number of passengers visiting each year is with a change to infrastructure, and that a significant jump would require some big investment:

As things stand, most of the larger ships are unable to come right into Douglas bay because of their size.

Many of the smaller vessels have scheduled multiple visits each season though, including the MV Corinthian which has ten visits to the Island this year.


Credit: Cruise Isle of Man

You can listen to Mr Bashforth's conversation with Manx Radio's Dollin Mercer, in full, here:

Some statistics

Critics of the cruise tourism industry on the Island have argued it's of relatively little value to the local economy, because visitors are either unlikely to leave the ship, or unlikely to spend money here.

Cruise Isle of Man says the percentage of passengers embarking on excursions around the Island is around 61% - 5,502 passengers out of 9,037.

Furthermore, of the expenditure the organisation is able to measure, the average spend per head per visit is just under £60.

Broken down by nationality, 58% of the cruise passengers visiting the Isle of Man are from the United States of America, with a fifth coming from the United Kingdom.

Australia, Belgium, Canada and Germany are the other most common home nations.

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