SCOTLAND’S cruise sector is set to receive a major boost as the expanded Port of Aberdeen prepares to welcome a wide range of new cruise vessels to the city in 2023.

More than 25 cruise calls are currently scheduled from April to September, with up to 12,000 tourists visiting the north east of Scotland.

It could result in a financial boost to the region of more than £1.5 million.

Local businesses are also set to reap the benefits with cruise calls to Scotland generating an average £134 per passenger per call, according to Cruise Scotland.

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Chief executive of the port Bob Sanguinetti said: “We’re delighted to welcome a host of new cruise vessels to Port of Aberdeen in the maiden year of South Harbour.

“We expect to see year-on-year increases in the number of cruise calls as we ramp up our capacity and capability.

“It’s encouraging to see that major international cruise lines are already booking their larger cruise ships for calls to Aberdeen in 2024 and beyond.”

The Port of Aberdeen has a proven track record of welcoming boutique cruise vessels and will now be able to facilitate larger ships at its South Harbour development.

The new deepwater harbour, scheduled for completion in the second quarter of this year, will significantly increase the port’s capacity for cruise calls.

Chief executive of Visit Aberdeenshire Chris Foy said: “The opening of the South Harbour to cruise vessels in 2023 will be a timely boost to the tourism and hospitality sector in the north-east.

“Disembarking passengers – who will be met by our Welcome to Aberdeenshire volunteers – will have a wealth of experiences to enjoy during their time on our shores, planting the seed for future travel back to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire for a longer stay.”