FORWARD bookings for Condor Ferries are significantly up this summer.
After two bleak summer seasons, with 2016’s struggles coming off the back of the turbulent introduction of Condor Liberation on to the UK route in summer 2015, the ferry company has said that a combination of improved service and early booking offers had seen ‘really strong’ forward bookings for this summer.
Inter-island bookings were up 80% and bookings from the UK to the islands up 48% compared to March 2016, figures which have been welcomed by Visit Guernsey.
But chief executive Paul Luxon said while the company felt the bookings were ‘really pleasing’, there was no sense of complacency.
‘We remain committed to growing visitor numbers coming to Guernsey by sea and will invest more than £1m. this year in our marketing,’ he said.
Mr Luxon said that the company’s recovery plan, introduced after the 2015 failings, had produced much-improved reliability in the past six months, and, speaking after the company had come in for some criticism at an open Scrutiny Management hearing with the Committee for Economic Development, he said he hoped that would be recognised by the committee.
Mr Luxon was unable to attend the hearing – he was out of the island on business – and was frustrated by comments from Economic Development president Deputy Peter Ferbrache that Condor could be being sold by its owners Macquarie Group.
‘That was completely, totally and utterly inaccurate and not helpful when the entire company is focused on our improvement plan,’ he said.
‘We are looking to stabilise and improve our service reliability, punctuality, customer service and communications, and it is really frustrating when incorrect, unhelpful comments are made with no purpose but to put confusion out there.’