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UPDATE: Ferry firm reports 100,000 Weymouth bookings since announcement return
WEYMOUTH is enjoying a cross-Channel sailing boom.
Condor Ferries, which returned in July after 17 months absence, says more than 100,000 sailing bookings have been made by guests to travel on ferries from the resort.
Emergency repair work which was needed to the crumbling harbour walls prompted Condor to switch sailings to Poole at the beginning of 2012.
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council undertook a major project costing more than £4million to repair the quay.
As work on the quay progressed, bookings restarted for Weymouth sailings to the Channel Islands at the end of last year.
Justin Amey, marketing manager at Condor Ferries, said: “When the first sailing left Weymouth on July 17 we had 70,000 booked, so are delighted that this has continued to grow significantly over the last three months to 100,000.
“We have seen strong bookings to the Channel Islands and on to St Malo through the winter months, which is very encouraging.”
He added: “Feedback from guests, the Weymouth public and local businesses has been overwhelmingly positive and Condor Ferries is delighted to be back in Weymouth Harbour.”
Condor says some local businesses have seen increased footfall and sales from those travelling to and from the Channel Islands.
Emma Carter, sales and guest relations manager at B+B Weymouth, said the last three months have been ‘fantastic’ and described Condor as a ‘major contributor’ to their summer success.
Kieran Wilkinson, owner of the Pier Bandstand, said: “From mid July we’ve seen a 20 per cent increase in sales during the summer months, in comparison to this time last year – and we strongly believe that the return of Condor Ferries is a huge contributing factor to this increase.
“Many of the tourists that visit Weymouth are en route to the Channel Islands or decide to head to Weymouth as there is the option of a day trip over to the Channel Islands.”
Dave Price, chairman of the local hotelier’s association, said the boost in trade for seafront businesses is likely due to the summer weather, and the regular trade increase due to the summer season.
He added: “It would be great to see if there is an extra trade boost during the winter months due to Condor’s return.
“Condor’s return is great however, because it means both holidaymakers and residents in Weymouth and Portland have the chance to take a trip overseas if they wish.”
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