Plan to boost cruise travel trade

Dublin City Council today launched a plan to boost tourism and promote urban renewal by attracting cruise liners to the capital…

Dublin City Council today launched a plan to boost tourism and promote urban renewal by attracting cruise liners to the capital.

Under the plan cruise ships would be allowed to dock closer to the O2 Arena at an existing cargo terminal. A dedicated terminal building for the liners would be built.

Suggestions also include better pedestrian links to the Luas station at The Point (which is close to the O2) and access a proposed extension of the DublinBikes scheme near Dublin Port.

Jim Keogan, executive manager of the council’s planning department, said the plan had not been fully costed and a committee had been established to secure funding.

He said the cost would be spread across a number of years.

“There will be cost to the city council and there will be cost to the Dublin Port company, obviously,” he said.

“Because of the urban regeneration aspects … we would hope to secure some structural funding from Europe,” he added.

The urban renewal portion of the plan identified several problems with the city's quays and river area, citing “clutter to street furniture”, the parking of Dublin Bus vehicles which “sever the visual link between the quay and the river” and the number of vacant properties.

The report also criticised the level of anti-social behaviour in the city centre and along the quays.

Dublin Lord Mayor Gerry Breen said cruise ship tourism contributed about €50 million to Dublin’s economy annually.

“Cruise ship tourism is the fastest growing sector in global tourism,” he said. “[The plan] aims to make to make Dublin city an even more attractive destination.”

Global cruise tourism has grown an average of 7.2 per cent each year over the past two decades, while the number of ships visiting Dublin had grown from 27 cruise liners in 1994 to 83 in 2008.

According to an estimate in theb plan direct spending from passengers and crew visiting Irish ports is worth €20.3 million a year. A further to €30 million is generated indirectly from employment in logistics and transport companies, and the sale of fuel and supplies.

“The contribution to Dublin’s economy is growing and growing – the potential is enormous,” Mr Keogan said.

The project is part of a larger European initiative involving 10 European cities including Trieste and Helsinki.

A spokeswoman for Dublin Port said the company would not need to buy any land or infill portions of the bay for the project.