Cruise Loch Ness invests £1.4m in hunt for Nessie

Cruise Loch Ness invests £1.4m in hunt for Nessie

Family-owned cruise trip company Cruise Loch Ness has invested £1.4m in a new luxury vessel to help tourists hunt for ‘Nessie’.

The company has commissioned an Australian company to develop a bespoke catamaran, designed to optimise passengers’ view of the famous Loch Ness.

The catamaran will be able to carry a total of 220 passengers, almost doubling Cruise Loch Ness’s current largest vessel capacity, which can take a total of 120 passengers. The catamaran will hit the waves of Loch Ness in April 2017.

The vessel was commissioned following a dramatic rise in consumer demand after the family-run company saw a 20% increase in passenger numbers in 2015, compared with the previous year.

Managing director Ronald Mackenzie said: “We’ve been experiencing year on year improved consumer trends, and 2015 was phenomenal for us. The Chinese market proved very lucrative in 2015 and we hope to see that continue.

“The idea of the catamaran has been floating about for a couple of years, but the time just feels right to take a leap. We felt if we didn’t do it now, we might have to turn away business in the future, and we certainly don’t want to do that.”

Funding for the catamaran has come in the form of a business loan from the Clydesdale Bank as well as profits from the sale of an older vessel by Cruise Loch Ness. 

Mackenzie added: “We hope the vessel will increase tourist numbers, and therefore increase visitors to the Highlands, which is great news for the economy as a whole.”