The South West’s ten ports affiliated to Destination South West (DSW) will welcome a record 156 cruise ships this season as the region enjoys a 35 per cent growth in the industry in three years.

Launched in 2002 DSW only attracted 45 ships that year. Confidence in the region has steadily grown amongst the cruise ship industry since then with the south west becoming an important cruise destination.

Falmouth a founder member of DSW expects 31 ships this year as the port hovers around the 30 ships per year mark.

The Isles of Scilly will enjoy a record-breaking year with 70 cruise ships anchoring off the idyllic islands.

The South West is known as the Land of Rosamund Pilcher, the British writer much loved by the Germans for her romantic novels. To date over 200 locations have been used by mainly German television companies to film scenes in the region. German operated ships cruise ships make up a large number of the cruise calls to the area this year with 12 visiting Falmouth.

Investment in port infrastructure at Portland Port and Poole will see both ports capable of handling larger ships. Poole is investing £10 million in a cruise berth extension whilst Portland Port will be able to handle 340 metre long ships on its newly extended cruise ship berth.

DSW chairman Ian McQuade from Portland Port said “the investment in a new berth extension enables us to handle ships in excess of 340 metres in length, putting us in a very unique group of ports along the English Channel that continue to serve an ever increasing range of cruise line customers.”

Here in Falmouth the capital dredging saga is no further forward as the port continues to lose out to neighbouring ports.

Plymouth plans a new History centre with the aid of a £14.8 from the heritage Lottery fund.

Mike Reynolds from ABP Plymouth, one of the founding members of DSW and now it’s vice chairman said “the UK is becoming increasingly popular as a cruise destination and it is fantastic to see such substantial growth in the South West as cruise lines continue to recognise the many diverse and unique attractions that our region has to offer.”

Mike who was the former port operations director at A&P Falmouth was the man who put Falmouth on the map with the cruise industry worldwide.

Destination South West is a marketing organisation set up to promote the region to the industry comprising of ten ports Dartmouth, Falmouth, Fowey, Ilfracombe, Isle of Scilly, Lyme Regis, Penzance, Plymouth, Poole and Portland.