Lerwick Port Authority is again targeting the annual Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention as part of its programme to attract more cruise vessels and thousands of passengers to Shetland.

Almost 10,000 delegates attended the 2005 event in Miami and this year’s convention there is expected to attract more than 950 exhibiting companies from over 100 countries to the industry’s largest event.

The Authority will be attending the exhibition and conference, from 13-16 March, as one of a number of partners on the Cruise UK stand.

Representatives of the Authority have participated in the event since the early 1990s. “As a focal point for the international cruise industry, the Convention is an important opportunity to make contacts and to create awareness of the port’s facilities and Shetland’s many attractions,” said Allan Wishart, the Port Authority’s Chief Executive.

“Previous events have contributed to the success in up to 50 cruise ships, including larger vessels, visiting Lerwick annually in recent years.”

With the average size of the 45 ships already booked for 2006 larger than last year’s visiting vessels, the Authority is expecting the number of cruise passengers arriving this summer to increase by up to 50% to around 26,000.

The trend for bigger ships to call at Lerwick has led the Authority to expand facilities, with a new floating landing stage to be installed by early May for use by passengers transferred from-and-to vessels at anchor in the sheltered harbour. Smaller vessels berth alongside at Victoria Pier and Holmsgarth.

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