Islands’ Partnership To Measure Value Of Cruise Ship Market For Scilly

marco polo apr 2015The first cruise ship of the season is visiting Scilly today and there’ll be a heightened effort to encourage its visitors to return independently after their daytrip.

The Marco Polo, with 760 people on board, will kick off what’s expected to be a record year for the islands, with 45 vessels booked to stop here between now and September.

Scilly has become the most popular cruise ship destination in the South West, with almost 17,000 people due to arrive this year.

Amanda Pender from the Islands’ Partnership says the importance of this sector has long been championed by islanders like Harbourmaster Dale Clark and Mike Nelhams from Tresco Estate, which is why we’ve become so popular.

Amanda says while the spending by these visitors is very welcome and significant, they’re only here on the islands for a short period.

The real prize is to entice them back for a longer visit, but there’s no accurate data on how many people decide to return on their own after they sample Scilly on a cruise ship visit.

So this season, the IP is providing a special online discount voucher to passengers in their welcome pack, which can be tracked if they book a holiday here in the future. They’ll also be given a chance to win a three-night stay on Tresco.

The Partnership has recruited several Ambassadors, who’ll be clearly visible in their ‘Visit Isles of Scilly’ logoed clothing. They’ll go out to the ships to provide practical information for passengers on what to see and do here.

They’ll also be on St Mary’s quay to help out, something that’s important this year, says Amanda, with so much building work going on there.

And there’ll even be ambassadors stationed on the off-island quays.

Amanda says with such short time scales for their visits, it’s important that passengers get advice on things such as the best route for a one hour walk or where to get a cup of tea.

It’s been estimated that the cruise ship business could be worth up to £450,000 to our economy.