7.2% passenger increase on ferry routes to the Continent


In the summer after the London Olympics, ferry passengers travelling to and from the Continent are up by 7.2% to 5.7 million over the last three months to the end of July, compared with the same period last year, according to figures released today by industry body Discover Ferries.

Total ferry passengers for all of the 75-plus UK ferry routes during the last three months to July 31 are up 4% compared with the same period last year – to a total of nearly 12.4 million passengers.


July Ferry Passenger numbers rise strongly…

This July, with great weather and family holidays underway, the increase on routes to the Continent were 10.7% up on July 2012, with nearly 2.3 million ferry passengers taking a ferry trip to France, Spain, Holland and Denmark during this month alone. The short sea Channel ferry routes showed the biggest increase (13%) in passenger numbers in July from operators DFDS, P&O Ferries and MyFerryLink. Also performing strongly in July, and up 6.4% on last year, were North Sea routes to the continent operated by DFDS, P&O Ferries and Stena Line; and the Western Channel routes, up 4.2%, serviced by Brittany Ferries, DFDS and Condor Ferries.


Also performing strongly in July were UK domestic ferry routes to destinations such as the Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, Channel Islands and Scottish Islands, which carried 2 million passengers in July - up 9.2% on July last year. Irish ferry passenger numbers in July on routes operated by DFDS, Irish Ferries, P&O Irish Sea and Stena Line, were also up 1.3% to 642,000 compared with this month last year.


Cars and Coaches by ferry up as well…

All UK ferry sectors are showing increases in cars transported in July, with over a million (1,081,000) carried on board, a 6% overall increase on this month last year. Again the Continental routes led the way, with an 8.2% increase in cars, with UK domestic ferry routes carrying cars up 4.8%, and Irish ferry routes up 0.1%. The biggest vehicle percentage increase on ferries, however, are for coaches carried - up 10.6% overall compared with July 2012, with more than 20,000 coach trips recorded.


Irish ferry routes put on a 13% coach increase in July, fuelled by the country’s “Join The Gathering” travel campaign. Coach trips taking a ferry to the Continent was up 12.7% in July, and there was also a 3.2% increase in coaches to domestic ferry destinations operated by Discover Ferries members Red Funnel; WightLink; Isle Of Man Steam Packet Company; Cal-Mac and Northlink.

Discover Ferries director Bill Gibbons said: “These latest figures show an accelerating summer trend for ferry travel, which appeals particularly to families and couples in their own cars, and groups on coaches. There is no doubt that the industry has recovered from any Olympic effect which last year affected normal summer travel patterns by ferry. With the escalating costs for families on other forms of holiday travel, coupled with their increasingly restrictive and petty luggage policies, all these hassles can easily be avoided by ferry travel with your car, or on a coach. August ferry bookings are also looking strong, but there is still time for families and friends to get on board a ferry for a late summer break.”


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