TORBAY will see a record number of six cruise ship visits next year, with the plan to encourage even more vessels to visit the Bay.
Ocean Majesty will be anchoring off Torquay Harbour on Monday May 27 with an additional five cruise ship calls during September and October.
The Artania will visit on Tuesday September 3 and return on Tuesday September 17.
A regular visitor to the Bay, the Delphin will visit on Wednesday September 4 with a first time visit from the Thompson Spirit on Friday September 6 followed by the Albatros calling on Sunday October 6.
An estimated 5,500 passengers will be aboard the six ships bringing a welcome boost to local tourism.
Mayor Gordon Oliver said: “We are looking forward to welcoming the ships to the Bay.
"We had three cruise calls in 2012 and with another six booked for next year our drive to attract more cruise ships to the Bay appears to be paying off. This is the largest number of cruise ship visits we have had for over a decade.
“Attracting cruise ships is continued investment for our maritime tourism and we hope to get back to the cruise ship business we had before. A key aim is to promote alternative excursion options that help to keep more passengers in the Bay during their visit.”
Carolyn Custerson, CEO of English Riviera Tourism Company, said: “The cruise ship visits will bring new international guests giving a boost to the local tourism economy.
"We are creating opportunities to establish ourselves as a UK destination in the rapidly expanding cruise market. We have recently produced an inspiring video which will be distributed industy-wide.”
Executive Head of Tor Bay Harbour Authority, Kevin Mowat, said: "We want to ensure that the ships and their guests have enjoy a safe visit to our port.
"The passengers receive a fantastic welcome and have access to all of the relevant information needed to navigate around the Bay as well as making their short stay a memorable one. This will hopefully encourage future visits.
"Through our partnership with Destination South West and Cruise Britain, we aim to welcome even more cruise ships into the Bay over the coming years. This includes focusing on providing more locally based itineraries for cruise passengers."
Chairman of the Tor Bay Harbour Committee, Cllr Vic Ellery, said: “We are pleased to confirm that we have received six bookings for cruise ship visits in 2013. This is really positive for the Harbour’s cruise ship business but the wider economic benefits reach out to a whole range of other businesses within the Bay.”
Itineraries will be tailored based on passenger profiling of each ship to encourage the visitors to stay local.
This includes tapping into the international interest in Agatha Christie and other areas of interest and heritage.