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Operator Brittany Reports Increase in French Holidaymakers in 2016

20th March 2017
Pont-Aven is to resume seasonal Ireland-France service next month on the Cork-Roscoff route. Afloat adds that the Pont-Aven is currently on English Channel service between St. Malo and Portsmouth from where above the cruise-ferry is underway off the landmark Spinnaker Tower. Pont-Aven is to resume seasonal Ireland-France service next month on the Cork-Roscoff route. Afloat adds that the Pont-Aven is currently on English Channel service between St. Malo and Portsmouth from where above the cruise-ferry is underway off the landmark Spinnaker Tower. Credit: BF

#Increase – An increase of 5% has been reported by operator Brittany Ferries in the number of passengers travelling to Ireland in 2016, compared to the previous year.

The company begins its seasonal Ireland-France service next month operated by Pont-Aven. On Saturday, 1 April, sailings depart from Cork (Ringaskiddy) and every subsequent Saturday throughout the season. The return sailings depart from Roscoff every Friday until early November.

Ireland’s popularity as a travel destination show no signs of waning as the number of French passengers travelling with the cruise-ferry operator has been rising steadily over the last number of years. General Manager Hugh Bruton said ‘We’ve noticed an increase in the number of French passengers travelling to Ireland, which has been a continuing trend in the last few years, and demonstrates both the popularity of Ireland as a travel destination and the valuable contribution that Brittany Ferries is making to the Irish economy.’

Bruton added, ‘There’s no better way to experience all that France has to offer than on a self-drive holiday and the figures reveal that passengers enjoy the many advantages of ferry travel. Not only does it allow holidaymakers to explore the region at their own pace, it also means you can pack as much as you want, which is particularly convenient for families with a large amount of luggage, adventurers travelling with bikes or keen golfers hoping to get into the swing of things on France’s greenways.

The service in 2016 ended strongly with 4,500 passengers and 1,100 cars on the last two sailings of the season. 2017 looks set to be an even more successful year with ferry bookings up 4% on the previous year.

Pont-Aven will resume the fastest direct ferry crossing between Ireland to France, taking just 14 hours and operating to a convenient weekend schedule. The state-of-the-art ship is the most modern to be found on any of the direct continental crossings .

Published in Brittany Ferries
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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About Brittany Ferries

In 1967 a farmer from Finistère in Brittany, Alexis Gourvennec, succeeded in bringing together a variety of organisations from the region to embark on an ambitious project: the aim was to open up the region, to improve its infrastructure and to enrich its people by turning to traditional partners such as Ireland and the UK. In 1972 BAI (Brittany-England-Ireland) was born.

The first cross-Channel link was inaugurated in January 1973, when a converted Israeli tank-carrier called Kerisnel left the port of Roscoff for Plymouth carrying trucks loaded with Breton vegetables such as cauliflowers and artichokes. The story, therefore, begins on 2 January 1973, 24 hours after Great Britain's entry into the Common Market (EEC).

From these humble beginnings however, Brittany Ferries as the company was re-named quickly opened up to passenger transport, then became a tour operator.

Today, Brittany Ferries has established itself as the national leader in French maritime transport: an atypical leader, under private ownership, still owned by a Breton agricultural cooperative.

Eighty five percent of the company’s passengers are British.

Key Brittany Ferries figures:

  • Turnover: €202.4 million (compared with €469m in 2019)
  • Investment in three new ships, Galicia plus two new vessels powered by cleaner LNG (liquefied natural gas) arriving in 2022 and 2023
  • Employment: 2,474 seafarers and shore staff (average high/low season)
  • Passengers: 752,102 in 2020 (compared with 2,498,354 in 2019)
  • Freight: 160,377 in 2020 (compared with 201,554 in 2019)
  • Twelve ships operating services that connect France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain (non-Covid year) across 14 routes
  • Twelve ports in total: Bilbao, Santander, Portsmouth, Poole, Plymouth, Cork, Rosslare, Caen, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Saint-Malo, Roscoff
  • Tourism in Europe: 231,000 unique visitors, staying 2.6 million bed-nights in France in 2020 (compared with 857,000 unique visitors, staying 8,7 million bed-nights in 2019).

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