MV Julia passing Cobh
Fastnet Line with it’s Cork to Swansea ferry route celebrates the first anniversary of operations on Thursday 10th March. The first sailing on the route since 2006 took place on this date in 2010 when the Julia set sail from Swansea to Cork.
The re-establishment of the route was a boost to tourism on both sides of the Irish Sea last year and saw Fastnet Line exceed its targets for vehicles and passengers in a highly successful first season. More than 80,000 people travelled on the route between March and December 2010 in a year which saw the importance of access by sea emphasised during the now infamous “ash cloud crisis”.
Fastnet Line has also established a cost effective route for freight in and out of the south of Ireland and the UK and with Swansea directly connecting to the motorway network in the UK the miles saved for hauliers is becoming an increasingly important factor in these times of rising fuel prices.
Commenting on the prospects for 2011, Phil Jones CEO of Fastnet Line said, “We were delighted with our first year of operations and learned a lot but that is in the past now and we look forward to the challenges ahead. We are determined to build on the solid foundations we have created and with tight cost control and an aggressive strategy for marketing in the UK supported once again by our partners in Tourism Ireland we intend to do everything we can to increase numbers this year.”
A new range of value products including short breaks will go on sale from Monday 14th March and Fastnet Line also will continue its policy of targeting major sporting events on both sides of the water including Heineken Cup, Six Nations rugby, Cheltenham Racing Festival, the West Cork Rally and the Racing Home for Easter festival at Cork Racecourse.
Conor Buckley Chairman of West Cork Tourism Co-Op, the owners of Fastnet Line, said, “2011 promises to be a challenging year again for everyone in the tourist industry but the members of the Co-Op are determined to promote themselves strongly in our key market in the UK. We will also encourage everyone to use the route from Cork to Swansea in both directions as much as possible in order to ensure the viability of the business for the long term benefit of the whole community.”