The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Mr. Alan Shatter T.D. announced today that his Department has renewed streamlined immigration procedures to apply to passenger and crew of cruise liners for the 2012 season. These arrangements, which were first operated last year, will facilitate the easy embarkation of visitors on cruise ships at ports of entry to the State.
Minister Shatter said that while immigration controls are a necessary feature of worldwide travel – irrespective of the mode – this initiative shows that the immigration system can also be used to facilitate economic activity such as tourism and thereby help to create and safeguard jobs.
The Minister noted that the cruise industry was of significant importance to the Irish tourism economy. A 2010 research report by Fáilte Ireland into the industry noted that in that year (latest figures available) there were 202 calls by cruise ships to Irish ports carrying 204,489 passengers. Direct spend from passengers and crew who disembarked at Irish ports, including port charges, was estimated at €20.3 million. The overall value to the economy is considerable and growing. According to Cruise Lines International Association this sector of the tourism economy offers tremendous potential as the cruise industry continues to be the fastest growing sector in the travel and leisure industry. Ireland is becoming an increasingly important destination on the itinerary of cruise liner operators.
The Minister said, "It is important that we give every incentive to passengers to disembark at Irish ports to visit our scenic and historic sites and to contribute to the local economy. In this regard, I note that many of the ships call not only at our major port cities but also at more remote locations thus providing important tourism opportunities throughout the coastal community.
The arrangements we have put in place for this low risk category of visitor will eliminate or considerably reduce the time required to clear immigration controls. This should help to improve visitor satisfaction with Ireland as a destination and also help to reduce costs to the industry itself. This is important because in many cases passengers will have only a short period of time to spend at their destination. Streamlined immigration checks will facilitate visitors to disembark and avail of tours and visits who otherwise might be discouraged by long queues."
The Minister went on to say that the arrangements had been worked out between his Department and An Garda Síochána with industry representatives and that safeguards were in place to protect against any abuses. The industry has expressed a strong welcome for the arrangements. They will remain in place until the season ends in October.
25 April 2012
Note for Editors
Immigration procedures to apply to passengers and crew of cruise liners
All passengers and crew on cruise ships seeking to land in the State remain subject to the requirement to present to an immigration officer and produce his or her passport or other document satisfactorily establishing identity and nationality (including where appropriate the possession of a valid Irish Visa) and be subject to the normal checks in accordance with the Immigration Acts.
However, for the purpose of satisfying entry requirements of passengers and crew, it is open to an immigration officer to confine any necessary checks to an inspection of the passports/travel documents of each individual passenger and crew member and the list of passengers and crew provided.
To avail of these arrangements the agent and operators of cruise ships landing in the State will be required, as appropriate, to provide the immigration authorities with, inter alia, a list of passengers and crew to include their name, nationality and passport/travel document details (country of issue, period of validity and number) not later than 72 hours before landing in the State (other than at weekends when 48 hours notice is required) and the ship’s full itinerary, including all ports to be visited within the State.
The agent and operators of cruise ships will also be required to make arrangements for the passports/travel documents of passengers and crew to be made available for inspection by the immigration officer at time of landing in the State.