First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited Greenock Ocean Terminal today to meet with representatives from the Greenock Tourism welcoming committee – and highlighted the importance of the growing tourism industry as a unique advantage to Inverclyde’s economic development.
More than £14 million of the £1.13 billion package is earmarked for a planned expansion of the quayside and construction of a state-of-the-art visitor facility, by Inverclyde Council and terminal owners Peel Ports.
Nicola Sturgeon stated,
“The port at Greenock provides the gateway to Glasgow and the west coast of Scotland, and I am delighted that it may be one of the first beneficiaries of the city deal being supported by the Scottish Government.
“This proposed investment in the ocean terminal would significantly expand cargo and cruise berthing facilities, creating and supporting local jobs.
“With passenger numbers at the terminal reaching more than 100,000 this year, this planned expansion will help cement Greenock’s position as one of Europe’s leading cruise liner terminals, which plays an important role in developing a thriving local economy.
“The Scottish Government recognises that cities and their regions are the engines of our economy and we are working strategically with local authorities, such as Inverclyde, to unlock investment and stimulate growth.
“This proposed development at Greenock is just part of an infrastructure investment programme that can unlock benefits from more than £1.13 billion in support being provided through what is the biggest city deal of its kind anywhere in the UK.”
The First Minister’s visit has coincided with the Marine Tourism Symposium in the Scottish Parliament, which took place on Friday 20th November. Around 120 members of the tourism industry gathered at the Scottish Parliament to hear how the Marine Tourism Strategy Action Plan could increase the value of the industry from £360m to £450m by 2020. It also aims to increase the value of sailing tourism from £101m to £145m in the next five years.
Stuart McMillan MSP, who is the Convener of the Cross-Party Group on Recreational Boating and Marine Tourism, said:
“The Cross-Party Group on Recreational Boating and Marine Tourism has led the way on highlighting Scotland’s Marine Tourism opportunities. A strategic framework for Scotland’s marine tourism industry – entitled Awakening the Giant was launched earlier this year and today will see the announcement of the practical steps needed to make the vision a reality. This is in-line with the national tourism strategy, Tourism Scotland 2020.”
Mr McMillan also highlighted the potential of the marine tourism sector as a driving tool to create more jobs in Inverclyde’s – and said that the industry is already providing significant reward for the local economy:
“Inverclyde’s location lends itself to even greater Marine Tourism opportunities just as Fort William is the Outdoor capital of the UK. Making more of our marine tourism opportunities will help create training opportunities and jobs as well as being good for the Inverclyde economy.
“The Cruise Liner Terminal has benefited to the tune of £30 million in funding from the SNP Government as part of the City Deal which has resulted in a record number of passengers coming to Inverclyde, which is worth millions to the local economy. I am delighted that the First Minister recognises the importance of tourism to the economic prospects of Inverclyde.”