Published Wednesday, 28 August 2013
A £7m cruise facility will be completed by 2014. (© Belfast Harbour)
It is after Belfast Harbour received a £7m investment to build the first cruise facility in Ireland.
Belfast Harbour Chairman, Len O'Hagan said the new facility will revamp the Queen's Island area as a tourism hub.
"Belfast is Ireland's fastest growing cruise destination - a market which is one of the most important drivers of the local tourism economy.
"The facility will enable Belfast to be promoted as a tourist destination to an even wider range of operators, leading to a projected increase of 25% over the next three years in the revenue generated for the local economy by cruise ship visits."
He said: "With over one million people visiting Titanic Belfast in just over a year and the popularity of attractions such as the Odyssey, the newly refurbished Nomadic and the marina at Abercorn Basin, combined with the development plans for the Titanic Drawing Offices, HMS Caroline and the Titanic Dock and Pump House, Queen's Island in the Harbour Estate has become a major tourism destination."
Sixty ships are expected to stop at Belfast this year generating more than £18m for the local economy.
Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy said: "I am delighted to be able to welcome this further and substantial investment in infrastructure.
"It demonstrates the significant economic contribution that Belfast Port continues to make to Northern Ireland in terms of connectivity, jobs and the local economy."
The new facility will also include an area for coaches and a new welcome centre.
Tourism Minister Arlene Foster said: "The berth facility will be located beside Titanic's Dry Dock and Pump-House and will include a large area to accommodate coaches.
"The improvements to infrastructure will ensure the best possible cruise ship experience and enhance Belfast's reputation among cruise operators and visitors alike."
From 2014 cruise ships will move from Stormont Wharf to a berth adjacent to Alexandra Dock in Co Down.
This year, Belfast was ranked on Trip Advisor as one of the UK's top destinations.
© UTV News