A new system of immigration checks for cruise ship passengers must be changed before it damages a "vital" industry, a nationalist MSP has said.
Stuart McMillan has contacted UK Immigration Minister Mark Harper about the "detrimental effect" the system will have on the industry which contributed an estimated £41.2 million to the Scottish economy last year.
Cruise ships are said to have brought 379,955 people to Scotland's shores last year, up 19% on 2011.
Mr McMillan, convener of Holyrood's cross-party group on recreational boating and marine tourism, said industry leaders are concerned about changes to immigration checks for cruise ship passengers.
The SNP MSP for West of Scotland said the checks were previously done in advance, on the basis of passenger and crew manifests. A new system was brought in without any consultation with the industry, which requires all passengers to have their documents checked, face to face, at the first UK port they arrive in, Mr McMillan said. "I have heard passengers have faced lengthy delays as a result of this system which is having a detrimental effect on the industry in Scotland," he added.
He raised the issue after being contacted by Richard Alexander, chairman of Cruise Scotland which promotes Scottish ports as a destination for cruise ships. In a letter to the MSP, Mr Alexander said a number of cruise lines "have already expressed extreme dissatisfaction" over the requirement to have face-to-document checks.
"At a time when cruise lines are already facing increasing operational costs, this is effectively a new tax on their operations. They have also indicated that this will make the UK uncompetitive and unappealing and act as a deterrent for ships to call at UK ports," Mr Alexander wrote.
Mr McMillan said: "Serious concerns have been raised about the UK Government's immigration checks for cruise ship passengers that cannot be ignored.
"I have written to Mr Harper to ask for clarity on how these rules are affecting Scotland as the voices from the industry say it is hugely negative and must be changed before it is too late. We must do everything we reasonably can to promote and sustain this vital industry which is currently estimated to be worth over £41 million to the Scottish economy."
A UK Border Force spokesman said: "There have been no changes to immigration rules affecting cruise ships. We conduct full checks on all cruise passengers entering the UK to ensure our borders are not compromised. We welcome genuine visitors to the UK and we are in discussions with Cruise Scotland to make sure effective plans are in place to protect the border with the minimum inconvenience to passengers."