INVERCLYDE’s new £20 million cruise ship visitor centre is looking ship-shape after it was officially launched.

Terminal bosses claim the new facility will provide a £26m boost to the Scottish economy with over 70 new jobs created.

The project, led by Inverclyde Council, is part of the £1 billion Glasgow City Region City Deal funded by the Scottish and UK governments, with contributions from Peel Ports and the George Wyllie Foundation via Dunard Fund.

Officials such as Inverclyde Provost Drew McKenzie and Peel Ports Clydeport’s port director Jim McSporran spoke at the terminal’s opening ceremony, which was attended by representatives from the hey players involved in the development.

Greenock Telegraph: Official opening of Greenock's new cruise ship terminal

The new cruise ship visitor centre features an arrivals/departure hall operated by Peel Ports Clydeport, as well as a museum and art gallery, the Wyllieum, paying tribute to the late, world-famous artist George Wyllie, who worked as a Customs Officer in Greenock and lived for many years in Gourock.

There is also the high-end Scotts restaurant and roof terrace with panoramic views of the River Clyde.

A new 200-metre floating pontoon was also completed by Peel Ports in partnership with the council as part of the overall project, providing a dedicated cruise ship berth linking to the state-of-the-art new visitor centre.

Inverclyde’s Provost, Councillor Drew McKenzie, said: “This is a magnificent venue that Inverclyde can be proud of.

"Our warm welcome is famous around the world and now we have a first-class venue befitting of that for visitors from near and far to enjoy all-year round, as well as the local community.

“It’s a project that has been a long time in the making but has been delivered through hard work and determination by all involved.

“With financial support from the Scottish and UK governments through the Glasgow City Region City Deal and investment from our partners, we can build on the success of Greenock as a major port and grow Inverclyde as a tourist destination and reap all the benefits that come with that for the local area and across the wider city region.

“There’s never been a better time to discover Inverclyde and the many wonderful things we have to offer.”

The official opening took place on the day Cunard cruise ship Queen Victoria stopped off.

Music at the ceremony was provided by Inverclyde Council’s Schools’ Music Service with piper Fraser Gallagher, an S4 pupil at Port Glasgow High School, welcoming guests.

Talented flute player Cody MacDonald, who is in S6 at St Stephen’s High School, and Andrea Crumlish, who has just finished her studies at Inverclyde Academy and plays tenor horn, also entertained those who came along.

Greenock Telegraph: Official opening of Greenock's new cruise ship terminal

UK Government Minister for Scotland and Greenock-born politician Malcolm Offord, who comes from Greenock, said: "The opening of the new Ocean Terminal today is the result of the combined efforts of the public and private sector working together, including £5.2m investment from both the UK and Scottish governments - showing the power of working together to deliver for our communities.

"Thousands of visitors from around the globe will step ashore at this new facility in Greenock and receive a proper Scottish welcome combined with a taste of our creativity through the art of George Wyllie.

"This presents a huge opportunity for local businesses, and I am confident that we will see further investment in the town and new jobs being created as a result."

Scottish Government Transport Minister, Fiona Hyslop, added: “The £26 million boost to investment produced by thousands of visitors to the Ocean Terminal every year can help transform our supply chain and create more jobs.

“It gives Inverclyde the chance to play a valuable part in developing our country’s position as a sustainable and responsible cruise destination for the 21st Century.”

The terminal will welcome 89 cruise liners into the Inverclyde town’s new dedicated pontoon across 2023 – a rise of over 25 per cent on last year.

Jim McSporran, port director at Peel Ports Clydeport, said: “The centre looks incredible and has been a huge success with the tens of thousands of passengers who have passed through it so far this year.

“We’ve invested significantly with our partners on upgrading our facilities, which we believe take our offerings at the port to the next level.”

While the facility will be heavily used by passengers and crew throughout the cruise call season, the building will also be open to the public throughout the year with potential for it to be used for events and exhibitions.