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It might seem like an unlikely destination for cruise ships to park up, but cruise ship passengers landing in Pembrokeshire are being warmly welcomed in a bid to boost the country’s tourism.
Over 500 German cruise ship visitors are spending the day in Milford Haven when the MS Astor calls into port this week – the second of three cruise ships which are planned to visit.
Local tourism chiefs are laying on free shuttle buses and advertising local attractions including birds of prey displays, and classic car tours to appeal to passengers of all tastes.
Sue Blanchard Williams from the Milford Haven Port Authority has said that this week alone, passengers from the passing cruise ships could spend in excess of £120,000, boosting the local economy. Each cruise ship passenger is expected to spend £85 on average during their time in port.
“People do love to see a cruise ship coming into port. It’s got a real wow factor. It really gives me such a buzz – I would like to see a cruise ship coming in every day of the year.” Sue Blanchard Williams said.
Cruise ships have docked in the port for a few years, with ships en route from the Scilly Isles stopping by, allowing passengers to have a chance to look at local sites such as St David’s Cathedral and Pembroke Castle.
“A few years ago, we were only getting one cruise ship visit every 18 months or so. The numbers have really increased over the last five years.” Ms Blanchard Williams added.
Milford Haven is a town located in South West Wales with a population of just 12,800. The Haven is an estuary which forms a natural and safe harbour for cruise ships to navigate their way into. The port also hosts a number of oil refineries and one of the biggest liquid natural gas terminals in the world. It is also the fourth largest port in the UK in terms of received tonnage.
Milford itself was developed around the port as early as the Middle Ages, and the surrounding area remains largely unspoilt by modern day development plans. A beautiful and largely rural area, cruise passengers to the port can expect to see a number of coastal wildlife species along hiking and cycling tracks which trace the outline of the South Welsh coast. Medieval castles which offer a great day out for history buffs and culture vultures, and activities for which the area is well-known such as rib riding, sea kayaking and coasteering, all prove to be popular amongst tourists to the Pembrokeshire area.