7/8/10 ‘People’s 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 which ensures that every passenger enjoys their cruise upon the Swansea to Cork ferry.’
The latest figures released from the Central Statistic Office for the month of 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 – a gesture very much appreciated by the thousands of stranded holidaymakers.
The ferry route was reinstated in March after a four-year absence following much hard work carried out by local business leaders in Cork and Kerry. The service, which was discontinued in 2006 resulted in a reported 30% drop in tourist numbers visiting West Cork leading to a massive fall off in revenue for businesses.
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. Short breaks such as 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 which are very appealing. For more information on how to reserve a seat upon the MV Julia one can log on to their website address at www.fastnetline.com or alternatively phone the Fastnet Line reservations team on 021 4378892.