Peoples' Ferry Bucks The Trend

While visitor numbers to Ireland from the UK continue to show a decline in the latest Tourism Ireland figures released last week, the re-instatement of the Swansea to Cork ferry route by Fastnet Line, has seen the impact cushioned by the runaway success of the cruiseferry MV Julia this summer.

With bookings for more than 60,000 passengers already this year and more than 13,000 of those travelling in the month of July alone; Fastnet Line management are very happy with progress to date. CEO Phil Jones admitted, “It has been a tough year for tourism throughout the island of Ireland with tourists looking for value and late bookings being the order of the day. We are therefore extremely pleased with the way things have gone so far for us and it is a testament to the hard work being put in by everyone at Fastnet Line”.

 

 

The latest figures for May showed a fall of 30% in visitors from the UK a continuation from April, although both months were affected by the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland which led to a decrease in air traffic between the UK and Ireland. Ironically, this was a major boost to numbers travelling on the ferry between Cork and Swansea and Fastnet Line put on additional sailings to cope with the demand.

The ferry route was reinstated in March after a four-year absence. The service, which was discontinued in 2006 resulted in a reported thirty per cent drop in tourist numbers visiting West Cork.

 Having carried nearly three million passengers and 700,000 cars during the nine-year period that the original ferry had operated, Cork business people knew that it was vital that the service resumed in order to safeguard tourism jobs across County Cork. As a result, the ‘People’s Ferry’ campaign group was established.

Conor Buckley, Chairman of the West Cork Tourism Co-op, the owners of Fastnet Line, commented, “I have been around West Cork in recent weeks talking to tourism providers in all sizes of businesses and there is no doubt that the English tourist is back and being seen in numbers around West Cork which is encouraging. Without the ferry there is no doubt that 2010 would have been even more difficult and we need to build on this year’s success to ensure that we continue to make progress in 2011 and beyond.”

Fastnet Line this week launched a series of new short break products to the UK allowing those who wish to have a shorter stay have the benefit of some very competitive pricing. Three or four day breaks in the UK start from €169 (in November/December) for a couple with a car and include cabin accommodation both ways on the MV Julia rising to €249 for the same break in September. There are also special deals on day trips without your car. For more information log on to www.fastnetline.com or phone the Fastnet Line reservations team on 021 437 8892

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