More than 9.4 million passengers were carried by Britain’s ferry operators in the first four months of this year to 30 April 2014 – an increase of 320,000 passengers or 3.5% over the same period last year- according to Ferrystat * industry figures released today by Discover Ferries.
This continues an upward trend reported during 2013, when full year ferry passenger numbers of 38 million rose by 2.6%, or a million extra passengers, compared with the previous year.
This latest four month period includes the later Easter holiday break in April this year, compared with 2013, when Easter fell in March.
All ferry route sectors reported growth over the first four months, led by passenger crossings to the Continent, up 4.1% to 4.45 million, with ferry passengers on UK Domestic routes such as the Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, and Scottish Isles up 3.6% to 3.79million, and passenger numbers on Irish ferry routes up 1.3% to 1.17 million.
“This represents a positive and increasing growth trend for ferry traffic, following on from a strong 2013. Despite a stormy and wet and challenging opening to 2014, ferry passenger numbers have grown strongly since, with operators continuing to offer exceptionally competitive prices. This period also included the high awareness industry consumer campaign of National Ferry Fortnight in late March, which kicked off the ferry travel season by emphasising both the benefits of family ferry travel and a “Baggage goes Free with Ferries” message,” said Discover Ferries director, Bill Gibbons.
In the same Jan-April 2014 four month period, passenger cars carried by UK ferries increased by 2.4% to 1.93 million, and coach numbers on ferries increased by 1.4% to 39,650, compared with the same period last year.
“With family holidays coming under even more cost and stress pressures, we think family travellers will increasingly appreciate the no-hassle and good value benefits of ferry travel when booking their Bank Holiday and summer break transport arrangements” concluded Bill Gibbons.
The ferry operator members of Discover Ferries are Brittany Ferries, Cal Mac (Caledonian MacBrayne), Condor Ferries, DFDS Seaways, Irish Ferries, Isle Of Man Steam Packet Company, MyFerryLink, Northlink Ferries, P&O Ferries, Red Funnel, Stena Line and Wightlink.