Six Welsh and Irish ports are joining together in a £1.2m project to try to attract more cruise passengers.

The scheme is known as Celtic Wave, and links Anglesey, Milford Haven, Swansea, and Dublin, Waterford and Cork.

The ports will work together to attract more visitors and boost their local economies.

Anglesey council is leading the project after receiving three-year funding from the European Regeneration Development Fund (ERDF).

Newly-appointed Celtic Wave project manager Sue Thomas said: “The project represents an important strategic alliance between Wales and Ireland.

“Our partnership will give us a new competitive edge in efforts to increase cruising within the Irish Sea.”

She said the aim was to develop a Celtic Wave brand and by working together “to market the whole of the Irish Sea region as one unique destination with a wealth of cultural experiences”.

The initiative will also have environmental benefits, with the Irish Sea being sold as a “green” destination, and liners encouraged to cruise around the member ports in order to cut their carbon footprint as well as costs.

Welsh Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said: “As demand grows for cruising holidays it is vital that we are able to maximise the potential of this market.

“The Celtic Wave project will make significant steps towards this, attracting more visitors, boosting local businesses and benefitting the economies on both sides of the Irish Sea.”

Irish Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism Martin Cullen said Celtic Wave was a “very welcome development for the ports on both sides of the Irish Sea.

“Tourism globally is becoming even more competitive and we must constantly seek new and diverse target markets,” he said.

“The cruising sector is one that offers fantastic potential for tourism growth in the years ahead and the Celtic Wave project should have real benefits for the ports and the local cultural attractions and businesses in their hinterlands.”

The Celtic Wave project will be unveiled to industry representatives at a fair in Hamburg, Germany next week.