Find out more about this year’s National Ferry Fortnight from Bill Gibbons, Director, Discover Ferries
National Ferry Fortnight is the annual showcase event for the ferry industry, and kicks off next Monday, March 2.
Despite being a huge part of the nation’s transport network, carrying over 39 million passengers and 8.5million cars on 75-plus ferry routes last year- and indeed sometimes even eclipsing airlines in market share (in 2014, for the major tourist destination of France, ferries accounted for 33% of the market, compared to 23% by air) – ferries rarely seem to get the press they deserve. This coming weekend will be different, with many of our national newspapers- led with a partnership Discover Ferries has with Mail newspapers- carrying page upon page of ferry media coverage. A social media campaign has also swung into action, embracing everything from Google Hang-Outs to Facebook Ferry Destinations competitions, and regular twitter feeds throughout the Ferry Fortnight.
Families and couples travelling door-to-door with their own car, encounter the minimum of hassle to board the ferries and then enjoy the freedom of the ship, having a relaxed family meal, strolling the decks, or shopping onboard. They are not strapped in by seatbelts, and are then free to roam- often in much more open roads- on the Continent, Ireland and Channel Islands, or our own island destinations like the Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, or Scottish isles. This is why we have themed this year’s campaign “Ferry Freedom”.
The travel trade remain an important channel for ferries, particularly when booking short breaks or mini cruises. Indeed, some mini-cruises by ferries are as well appointed as many cruise lines, and could indeed mutually enhance new customers’ appreciation and experience of sea travel. Our members are keen to work with the trade to increase ferry bookings, and indeed to encourage car-borne travellers seeking hotel or resort information from travel agents, as an alternative to the fly-drive package. Modern ferries are purpose-built to cater for vehicle travel of all shapes and sizes.
We very much hope you become involved in this year’s National Ferry Fortnight by offering ferry travel as an extremely viable option, and one which then can be enhanced by your own advice on where to go and where to stay once you have driven off the ferry at any chosen destination. There are a whole host of ferry offers for National Ferry Fortnight, which can be seen from Saturday morning on www.discoverferries.com, most of which allow travel way out into 2015, and which can then be made even more attractive with your specialist recommendations on accommodation and destinations on “the other side” of the sea.
Please “seas the opportunity” for ferry travel this year, starting with this years’ National Ferry Fortnight.