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Travelling Support Continues Strongly for 2022 Classic TT & Manx Grand Prix

22nd April 2021
Following cancellation of the IOM Classic TT and MGP, the IOM Steam Packet confirms customers booked to travel from 21st Aug – 4th Sept inclusive will be contacted and offered the chance to transfer their booking to next year’s event or receive a refund. Above AFLOAT adds is the seasonal fastcraft ferry Manannan from where motorbikes in recent years, disembarked at Douglas Harbour. Following cancellation of the IOM Classic TT and MGP, the IOM Steam Packet confirms customers booked to travel from 21st Aug – 4th Sept inclusive will be contacted and offered the chance to transfer their booking to next year’s event or receive a refund. Above AFLOAT adds is the seasonal fastcraft ferry Manannan from where motorbikes in recent years, disembarked at Douglas Harbour. Credit: IOM Steam-Packet-twitter

Ferry firm Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has released figures that have again highlighted the continued popularity of world-class motorsport events in the Isle of Man.

The company has revealed that 75% of passengers due to travel during this year’s Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix period (21st August – 4th September) have transferred their bookings to next year.

More than 2,300 bookings were transferred to the 2022 festival period following last month’s announcement that the 2021 Isle of Man Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix would not go ahead due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, over 300 bookings for the travel period have been retained this year after the Steam Packet Company contacted all passengers affected with an automated process to either retain, transfer or cancel their booking.

The company's Chief Executive Mark Woodward explained: ‘Naturally it was disappointing when it was announced that this year’s Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix would not take place, although we fully understand the difficulties in organising events this year.

‘However, it is encouraging that the majority of our passengers have seamlessly transferred to the equivalent sailings for 2022.

‘I am also aware a number of travellers have retained their 2021 bookings, perhaps in the hope that travel restrictions will be relaxed, which also shows just how much people are looking forward to visiting the Isle of Man once more.

‘I would like to thank passengers for their patience and understanding while our Reservations Team worked with them and, of course, our hard-working staff for their efforts.

‘We look forward to welcoming back motorcycling fans and summer visitors to our Island in safer times.’

Published in Ferry
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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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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