The arrival of the first cruise liner to Angus promises to leave major economic benefits in its wake.
It has launched hopes that the potential for similar ships docking at Montrose will create jobs and boost the local tourism industry by almost £1 million.
Montrose Port Authority, better known for its support for the energy industry, put Angus on the visitor destination map when it welcomed the MS Hebridean Sky early yesterday morning.
Greeted by Scottish celebrity piper Louise Marshall, the ship docked just before 7am with 103 passengers on board. The stop was part of an Epic Iceland tour offered by Noble Caledonia.
Nik Scott-Gray, chief executive at Montrose Port Authority, said: “As our £7.5million quayside expansion project continues, we’re thrilled to herald our move into the cruise ship market.
“The cruise industry plays a key role in the country’s economic growth.
“In 2017, Cruise Scotland recorded a total of 761 cruise ship visits to Scottish ports, carrying more than 680,000 tourists to regions throughout the country.
“It is a key market for the port to expand into and for the north-east to benefit from.
“With our quayside expansion due to be complete by summer 2019, we will be able to accommodate larger vessels, building on our current cruise activity and contributing further to Scotland and the north-east’s growth.”
Angus councillor Ron Sturrock, economic development spokesman, also highlighted the potential boost to the area’s tourism with the arrival of the first cruise ship.
He said: “Angus Council has been working with Montrose Port via our Visit Angus marketing campaign to bring smaller cruise ships to Montrose for over a year, and we are delighted to welcome our first ship here today.
“Tourism is a priority sector for the Angus economy, having grown year on year to have an economic impact of £231m and providing 3,900 full time equivalent jobs.
“Our studies have shown that if the port is successful in bringing in more cruise ships, there is a potential market of around 6,000 cruise tourists by 2023.
“This business would directly generate approximately 44 full time jobs and be worth about £960,000 to the local economy as the evidence is the money spent stays within a two hour drive of the port.”
During their one-day visit to Angus the tourists had the opportunity to visit some of the north-east’s key attractions such as Glamis Castle and Arbroath Abbey, explore the famous RSPB reserve at Montrose Basin, and tee off at one of the world’s oldest golf courses.