Tourism and travel industry upbeat about Condor sale
PEOPLE working in the tourism and travel industry are optimistic about the sale of Condor to a consortium that includes Brittany Ferries.
Columbia Threadneedle Investments, along with minority stakeholder Brittany Ferries, has bought the ferry company, which is an integral part of the island’s infrastructure.
The sale has been widely received by Channel Island politicians and business leaders as good news, with the potential for some big investment.
Columbia Threadneedle Investments is called a ‘long investor’, which means it is a perpetual fund that does not need to be sold off at the end of a time period.
The involvement of Brittany Ferries is another stamp of confidence, and has given rise to hope that more ships, cheaper fares, new routes and improved reliability could be on the horizon.
Condor carries nearly a million passengers every year between Guernsey, Jersey, Poole and Portsmouth, and it brings in food supplies and freight.
People working in the tourism sector have welcomed the sale, which gives security to the ferry company.
The managing director of Sarnia Hotels, Karel Harris, was upbeat.
‘It’s early days, but one hope would be that the involvement of Brittany Ferries will mean a much bigger reach and hopefully we can tap into the French market more, because it’s a market we should make more of, as French visitors love our offering.
‘The other hope is that there could be more resilience in the fleet.
‘We all know about the problems with the Liberation and it’s the worst thing when a guest has a cancellation, so maybe Brittany Ferries has something in its fleet which could help.
‘And from an advertising perspective Brittany Ferries has a big customer base, so that may be another positive.’
Robert MacKenzie, managing director of the CI Travel Group, said it gave security to the routes and that Brittany Ferries could bring a lot of experience and operational skills to the local team.
He was not anticipating that passengers will see any changes in the short term because next year’s schedules and fares have already been published and it would take time to adjust the fleet.
In the long term he hoped that, in particular, Condor’s customer service would improve.
‘Customer service is a big challenge for Condor because when they have to cancel or delay a service at short notice it means that they might have 5-600 people getting in touch with them and this puts pressure on the customer services team.
‘Condor already recognises this and it is taking steps to improve it, but hopefully Brittany Ferries could provide help and direction with this.
‘What we want to see is a more robust and reliable service, and hopefully that might involve more ships, but clearly we will have to wait and see.’
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