'Let's push the boat out for cruise visitors'

WAVE HELLO: Ocean Princess will be among the ships bringing hundreds of tourists to Pembrokeshire this autumn. (4292534)

WAVE HELLO: Ocean Princess will be among the ships bringing hundreds of tourists to Pembrokeshire this autumn. (4292534)

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MORE than 5,000 extra tourists are expected to visit the county this summer, as luxury cruise liners make their way into Milford Haven and Pembroke Dock.

And Port of Milford Haven cruise development officer Sue Blanchard-Williams is hoping the visits will be a real boost for the local economy.

After years of hard work promoting Pembrokeshire to companies all over the world as a cruise destination, Sue is keen for local businesses to make the most of the influx of visitors and really push the boat out in welcoming them.

“It’s their chance to advertise themselves,” she said.

Despite local landmarks like St David’s Cathedral and Tenby being most popular with passengers, Sue believes there is plenty of room for shops, historical sites and attractions in and around the ports to get a slice of the action.

“It’s about going the extra mile and then reaping the benefits,” she said. “We’ve done the hard work getting them here, now we’ve got to keep them here.”

In previous years, dancing groups, musicians, town mayors, traditional ‘Welsh ladies’ and birds of prey have been part of the Port’s welcome parties – and their efforts have proved popular with visitors.

Sue said the Port’s meet and greet service last year was rated at 88 per cent – the highest in the UK.

And she hopes local businesses will also get involved this year.

“Come down, dress up your windows - make the most of it,” she said.

Milford Haven Town Council has agreed to contribute £900 from its 2014 budget towards the cost of shuttle buses to and from the town centre, making it easier for passengers to explore the town - and hopefully spend money there.

The first ship is due in August, and Sue is keen for anyone wanting to link up with the Port’s welcome events to get in touch now.

To get involved, contact Sue on 01646 696373.

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