Dublin Port Company has recorded a 30% increase in passenger cruise ship visits, compared to the previous year's figures.

This year's season saw Dublin Port host 70 passenger cruise ships, carrying 60,000 passengers and 28,000 crew members.

The company says these high spend cruise passengers, the majority of whom are from the US, contributed a total of €45m to the Irish economy this season alone. This is up sharply from last season's spend of €30m.

The international cruise industry has experienced huge growth over the past five years, with 2.8 million Europeans taking cruises in 2004. This trend is set to continue, offering Ireland further potential as it continues to be the fastest growing sector in the global travel and leisure industry.

Dublin Port Company said it would like to further develop this sector. However, it warns that further growth will be curtailed as the port faces operational capacity constraints in 2007.

Operational capacity will not only affect the cruise industry, but will affect Ireland's ability to trade with the rest of the world, according to Enda Connellan, Dublin Port Company's CEO.