ANGUS MP Mike Weir has welcomed ambitious plans from Montrose Port to bring cruise ships into Angus – with the first one set to dock there next year.
Montrose will be an overnight stopover point from a cruise liner coming from Iceland next year as they move into the tourism market.
The Port can currently handle smaller cruise liners with a capacity up to 400 people and are hoping to attract up to ten cruises per annum.
And after meeting with Montrose Port Authority Chief Executive Nik Scott-Gray to discuss the project, Mr Weir believes cruise ships could bolster the Angus economy.
Mr Weir said: “Montrose Port is a very forward thinking and dynamic business.
“They are dipping their toes in the water by looking at the cruise ship market and this is an exciting venture that could have wider benefits for Angus.
“The first cruise ship is set to dock in the port next year and can provide a real boon to the local economy.
“A cruise ship will normally come into a port and stay for a day or so and whilst it’s there the passengers and crew will spend money in the local town.
“There will also normally be excursions to local landmarks and businesses across Angus and the hope is that people enjoy Angus so much that they come back.
“The more people can talk up Angus, the better. We have some fantastic businesses and tourist attractions and we need word of mouth to spread to bring more people in to visit them.”
Nik Scott-Gray, chief executive of Montrose Port Authority, said: “We had a very useful and constructive meeting with Mike Weir where he expressed his support for our ongoing port development plans, our proposals for the Tay Cities Deal initiative and our strategy to attract cruise ships to the port.
“These developments will deliver real and tangible economic benefits to Montrose and the wider Angus economy, with the cruise ship initiative delivering exciting new opportunities to develop the considerable tourism potential of the area.”
Montrose Port are investing heavily with a multi-million pound upgrade to future proof their quays and are hoping to benefit from a TayCities deal with an direct link road to the A90.
Mr Weir added: “As they are a Trust Port, Montrose continually re-invest into the business and they have exciting plans to continue developing their area in the years to come.
“The recent downturn in the oil and gas industry has affected them but they are coming through the other side and are looking forward.
“The one cloud on the horizon is Brexit and the uncertainty it brings but, like all businesses in Angus they are ambitious and will thrive as best as they can regardless of the future.”