Greenock’s new £20 mill cruise ship visitor centre has been officially opened.
It was claimed that the new facility on the UK’s River Clyde will provide a £26 mill boost to the Scottish economy with over 70 new jobs created.
The project, led by Inverclyde Council, is part of the £1 bill Glasgow City Region City Deal funded by the Scottish and UK Governments, with contributions from Peel Ports and the George Wyllie Foundation via Dunard Fund.
The new visitor centre features an arrivals/departure hall operated by Peel Ports Clydeport, as well as a museum and art gallery, the Wyllieum, paying tribute to the late artist George Wyllie, who worked as a Customs Officer in Greenock and lived for many years in nearby Gourock.
The visitor centre also houses a restaurant and roof terrace with panoramic views of the River Clyde.
A new 200 m floating pontoon was also completed by Peel Ports in partnership with the Council, as part of the project, providing a dedicated cruise ship berth, linking it to the new visitor centre.
Inverclyde’s Provost, Councillor Drew McKenzie, said: “This is a magnificent venue that Inverclyde can be proud of.
“Our warm welcome is famous around the world and now we have a first-class venue befitting of that for visitors from near and far to enjoy all-year round, as well as the local community.
“It’s a project that has been a long time in the making but has been delivered through hard work and determination by all involved.
“With financial support from the Scottish and UK governments through the Glasgow City Region City Deal and investment from our partners, we can build on the success of Greenock as a major port and grow Inverclyde as a tourist destination and reap all the benefits that come with that for the local area and across the wider city region,” he said.
The official opening coincided with a call from Cunard’s cruise ship ‘Queen Victoria’.
UK Government Minister for Scotland and Greenock-born politician, Malcolm Offord, said: “The opening of the new Ocean Terminal is the result of the combined efforts of the public and private sector working together, including £5.2 mill investment from both the UK and Scottish governments – showing the power of working together to deliver for our communities.
“Thousands of visitors from around the globe will step ashore at this new facility in Greenock and receive a proper Scottish welcome combined with a taste of our creativity through the art of George Wyllie.
“This presents a huge opportunity for local businesses, and I am confident that we will see further investment in the town and new jobs being created as a result,” he said.
Scottish Government Transport Minister, Fiona Hyslop, added: “The £26 mill boost to investment produced by thousands of visitors to the Ocean Terminal every year can help transform our supply chain and create more jobs.
“It gives Inverclyde the chance to play a valuable part in developing our country’s position as a sustainable and responsible cruise destination for the 21st Century,” she said.
The terminal will welcome 89 cruise ships alongside the new dedicated pontoon this year – a rise of more than 25% on last year.
While the facility will be heavily used by passengers and crew throughout the cruise ship season, the building will also be open to the public throughout the year with the potential for use for events and exhibitions.