GREENOCK is the next port of call for a top hotel chain thanks to the town's booming cruise ship sector.

Travelodge have long been linked with Inverclyde but bosses have now confirmed it is in their top 10 UK destinations for a new premises.

Company chiefs say the Greenock cruise passenger boom is a key factor in their decision.

A record of more than 120,000 visitors will dock at Ocean Terminal during the 2018 season and that figure is expected to continuing growing.

More than £14 million has been set aside for an expansion of the quayside over the next couple of years to accommodate even more ships and passengers.

Tony O’Brien, Travelodge property director, said: "The cruise boom is still underway and predicted to grow from strength to strength therefore we are getting on board now and looking for ten new hotel sites at UK's growing ports, which includes Greenock.

"This overall expansion represents an investment of £60m for third party investors and will create around 300 new jobs.

"With more Britons taking to the waves, our port-based hotels are benefiting from holidaymakers stopping over before embarking and returning from their voyage."

The company operates 562 hotels across the UK, Ireland and Spain.

It is expected a Greenock Travelodge would create around 20 new jobs.

Last year, a record two million British holidaymakers went on a cruise - up by six per cent on 2016.

Travelodge bosses have not revealed a location or timeline for a Greenock hotel.

The newly-cleared former BT exchange land off Regent Street, the Victoria and East India harbours, and the Glebe Building have all been touted as potential sites.

Twelve months ago, Ocean Terminal owners Peel Ports announced plans to double their Greenock business in the next five years.

Cruise ship passengers and staff contribute an estimated £10m to the local economy each year.

In 2017, Greenock was rated as the top UK cruise destination by leading cruise review site, Cruise Critics.