May 31, 2007

Why some ports don't welcome ships like QE2

This on the about the value that visits by ships like QE2 really bring to ports they stop at...

"Traders sunk by luxury liners
THEIR arrival is supposed to signal rich pickings for the tourist trade on the shores of the Forth.

Instead, cruise liners are being accused of costing businesses a fortune as coachloads of disembarking passengers hog parking spaces and bring traffic to a standstill.

Shopkeepers in South Queensferry say they are being left out of pocket when luxury ships such as the QE2 tie up offshore because nearly all the passengers immediately leave on trips to Edinburgh and St Andrews without spending any money in their town.

Now the community's leaders fear cruise passengers may disrupt the annual Ferry Fair, as two liners are scheduled to arrive during the week-long festivities.

Tom Martin, chairman of Queensferry community council, said passengers from the liners were ferried ashore at Hawes Pier. Coaches line up in the main car park nearby, which is closed to other users.

Although the coaches depart in the morning and return in the afternoon, spaces are usually reserved for them during the day.

He said: "This has always been a problem, but the liners are coming more frequently now. They have large fleets of coaches lining up to take the passengers. Local businesses are feeling the effect."

Moira Cunningham, who runs a bed and breakfast at Hawthorn House, on West Terrace, said: "There are liners coming in with about 30 coaches. The traffic comes to a standstill.

"Parking is a major problem in South Queensferry anyway. We've got so many nice places to visit here, but this is going to keep people away.

"I understand why they want liners to come in, but they need to address the problem."

Hamish Gilchrist, who runs a sculpture gallery on Newhalls Road, said coachloads of tourists bypassed the town, rather than stopping at shops and cafes.

He said: "What they do is line the coaches up, and then they go into Edinburgh. We don't gain any benefits from these passengers. They don't spend any time in the town. We need another car park. We've lost a number of parking spaces with the new development on the promenade."

Community councillor David Steel, who also helps run the fair, said: "When they first started coming, people in Queensferry felt there might be some benefits with all these extra visitors.

"Unfortunately, it really hasn't proved to be the boost to trade that many people had hoped.

"The majority of people on these ships go off on coach trips into Edinburgh or St Andrews.

"We've found that there's very little spin-off for Queensferry. They do cause quite a lot of disruption in terms of traffic."

He said around eight cruise liners are scheduled to arrive this summer. Two are due between August 6 and 10, the week of the annual Ferry Fair.

The cruise liners have already booked the car park, although it is normally used by the fairground at this time.

He said they were trying to negotiate with the council, who run Hawes Pier, to find alternative parking for the coaches.

He said: "The fairground has been occupying the car park for many, many years. It's just unfortunate that there's liners visiting that coincide."

Andrew Holmes, the council's director of city development, said the authority tried to balance the needs of residents and cruise passengers. He said: "We only allow liners to use this car park a handful of times each year when their passengers are going on day trips. This is for safety reasons, as there is nowhere else for the coaches to safely park next to the pier.

"Only part of the car park is used by these coaches, and if shoppers cannot find a space during these times, on-street parking bays are available."

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...