Cruise companies could pull out of UK ports as border controls leave passengers queuing for hours for a day trip in the UK.
The UK cruise industry is asking for a 'risk-based approach' to passport checks as tightened border controls now mean all EU passengers arriving for a visit are checked - including British passengers.
Passengers on a half day call of four or eight hours' duration are sometimes waiting hours to go through passport control.
Kay Greenway, a spokesman for Cruise Britain, fears this will do serious harm to the British tourism industry.
Greenway told the Telegraph: "No operators have withdrawn yet, but we are afraid that they will. It makes it very difficult to operate when you only have a half day call of four hours or eight hours.
"You have an excursion booked at nine and you can't leave. We believe these passengers are extremely low-risk.
"They would visit the cultural and heritage sights in the area, such as castles, gardens and stately homes. They will also shop."
Cruise Britain, a combined force of Visit Britain and the Passenger Shipping Association to promote UK cruises, estimates that each passenger will spend just over £82 on a day trip when they disembark, meaning a ship with 2,000 people on board is worth £164,000.
The Passenger Shipping Association describes these EU tourists as 'low risk', saying the Border Agency has details of everyone on board before the ship docks.
"We want a risk based approach," said Penny Guy of the Passenger Shipping Association. "If you have thousands of people on a ship, it can take hours to get off, it is not particularly friendly.
"The UK border forces are requiring every single passenger to present their passport to the UK officials.
"Cruise companies have details of all passengers so it is easy to identify passengers the border force wish to see directly.
"The cruise ships have the option to visit any ports they wish and if they feel the passenger's experience is not as enjoyable then they have the choice to go to other ports."
According to the latest industry figures, 648,000 cruise passengers visited Britain in 2011, contributing £2.4 billion to the UK economy.
Monday, March 4, 2013