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Brittany Ferries Reports Significant Increase in Early Bookings for 2016

1st April 2016
Brittany Ferries Reports Significant Increase in Early Bookings for 2016

Building on a highly successful sailing season in 2015, Brittany Ferries has reported a 19% increase in the number of early bookings compared to the corresponding period last year. The ferry operator, which begins its new season on 02 April has weekly sailings from Cork to Roscoff every Saturday and return sailings departing from Roscoff every Friday until 04 November 2016.

Last year, Brittany Ferries carried an additional 5,000 passengers on its seasonal service from Cork to Roscoff with a total of 84,000 passengers being transported, compared to just under 79,000 the previous year. Over half of passengers (55%) were French, highlighting the contribution that Brittany Ferries is making to Irish tourism and the economy.

Commenting on the 2016 season, Hugh Bruton said, “We have experienced strong passenger growth over the last few years and, based on the significant increase in early bookings, it looks set to continue in 2016. The fact that France is hosting the Euro 2016 tournament has obviously led to an increase in sports fans travelling to cheer on Ireland but there is also a large portion of holidaymakers looking to take advantage of the sandy beaches, glorious countryside, fine food and drink and fascinating heritage sites. We’ve also witnessed an increasing number of French passengers, proving that Ireland remains an exceptionally popular destination for tourists. We are delighted to report that bookings are strong to date and look forward to welcoming passengers on board the Pont-Aven this season.”

The Pont-Aven continues to offer the fastest direct ferry crossing from Ireland to France, taking just 14 hours and operating to a convenient weekend schedule. 

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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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