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Cruise Forth heads to USA to pick up more passengers

Tue 5 Apr 16

AN AWARD-WINNING project which encourages cruise ship passengers to come to Dunfermline has been showcased in the USA.

Representatives from Cruise Forth – which started with four well-intentioned volunteers standing at Rosyth's port – flew the flag at Seatrade Global in Florida.

The project has grown to a small army of people who will provide a warm welcome to the 100,000 passengers estimated to come to the Forth this year.

And some of them went Stateside to the biggest international cruise exhibition as part of a drive to increase the number of ships docking here.

Peter Wilson, who leads the Cruise Forth project, said: "We recognise the importance of getting information about the wealth of visitor opportunities that exist locally to those who plan cruise ship itineraries, as well as to the passengers who are thinking about what to do when they get here.

"With around 90 cruise ships bringing around 100,000 passengers expected in 2016, and signs of a significant increase in 2017, the potential for recognised attractions and evolving passenger experiences throughout Fife and East Central Scotland is huge."

The volunteers, based in the terminal building at Rosyth, welcome passengers, provide maps, information and handy guides on where to stay and what to see.

There's also a courtesy shuttle bus, which received funding from Fife Council, to Dunfermline and North Queensferry.

Mr Wilson said Dunfermline is not a hard sell and explained: "When we meet passengers, just saying the words 'Dunfermline', people say, 'Oh yes?'.

"They do know the name and are interested to hear more.

"Dunfermline is quite often run down but people looking for a half day to do something different or who don't want to go too far from the ship, it has everything.

"It has history, shopping, it's a size you can easily walk round, it has parks and for the Americans it has the Carnegie link, so people like it a lot. They recognise what's on offer."

The project, which started in 2011, has proved so successful that it's now available at Leith, Newhaven and South Queensferry too.

Just last month, Cruise Forth won the Fife Chamber of Commerce Business Award for Excellence in Tourism, and it has previously picked up a Visit Scotland award.

It made its international debut in Florida as part of Project Inspire, a marketing campaign to bring more cruise ships to Fife that has received funding from Visit Scotland, Fife Council, Forth Ports, the City of Edinburgh Council, Queensferry Ambition, Leith Chamber of Commerce, Dunfermline First and Falkirk Council.

Councillor Helen Law, chair of the City of Dunfermline area committee, said: "The work done to promote Dunfermline and West Fife to cruise passengers at Rosyth over recent years has seen over 4,000 passengers take our courtesy bus from Rosyth.

"The new international level activity is a wonderful opportunity to build on the work of the last five years.

"I am delighted that new members from Falkirk Council, Linlithgow Town Centre Businesses and Scotrail have kindly agreed to contribute financially and assist Cruise Forth's efforts. This will greatly expand the offer that can be made to our visitors."

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