Wednesday, 10 November 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
68. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will outline his strategy for utilising Ireland’s ports as a tourism development tool in the years ahead and in particular Dublin Port; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54887/21]
69. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the options he has investigated for cruise liners in view of the unavailability of Dublin Port for tourism traffic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54888/21]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 67 to 69, inclusive, together.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cruise vessels into ports in Ireland have not been facilitated for some time. The Government gives continuing consideration to policy on international travel, including cruise, informed by the epidemiological situation and public health advice. A decision on a timeline for the resumption of cruise into Ireland will be made, taking account of that information.
Specific to Dublin Port, I have been advised that Dublin Port Company has taken bookings for 28 cruise ships in Dublin Port in 2022 and a further 67 anchoring in Dublin Bay and tendering into Dun Laoghaire Harbour. However, the actual cruise calls to be facilitated will depend on a decision on the resumption of cruise activity.
The Company will keep the situation under review and will be guided by wider public health requirements, risk assessments and other relevant information in deciding whether to proceed with these cruise bookings. In doing so, the Company will focus on ensuring that Dublin Port continues to fulfil its primary role of facilitating the movement of goods.
Dublin Port Company has indicated for quite some time its changing position with regard to cruise. They are facing significant constraints on land use due to major infrastructure construction underway to provide more port capacity in the future and the provision of space for the customs, agriculture and immigration checks post Brexit.
Since 1stJanuary 2021, there has been a significant increase in shipping services direct to the continent from a number of ports in Ireland. In Dublin Port, these direct services are using the cargo berths that were in the past used by cruise. It is clear that once cruise traffic recommences, Dublin Port will have reduced capacity for cruise ship visits in the coming seasons.
However, there is spare capacity in other ports particularly with Cobh having a dedicated cruise berth in Ireland. This ideally places them as alternative options for the cruise industry and creates opportunities for tourism activities on a regional basis.
The development of a strategy to maximise the tourist potential for cruise in Ireland is a matter for the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht Sport and Media and the tourism agencies.