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Ferry trips floating the boat of more travellers

By Neil Lancefield

The number of cars travelling on UK and Irish ferries rose by 2% last year, new figures show.

Industry body Discover Ferries said growth was driven by a 5% increase in demand for domestic trips, with Western Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Isle of Wight markets performing strongly.

Some 8.8m cars were carried by ferry operators in the UK and Ireland in 2016, up from 8.6m the previous year. This represents an increase of almost half a million cars since 2012.

Discover Ferries director Bill Gibbons said: "The sustained growth in car carryings is particularly good news for the sector as we see more people recognise the advantages of simply hopping into their own car and enjoying the flexibility, value and freedom of a break by sea rather than the pressure of travelling through an airport.

"Over the past decade our ferry members and partners have constantly innovated and invested to ensure travel by sea is a superb experience, and it's exciting to see the results of that work coming through in our 2016 results."

Last week, Stena Line said 2016 was a record year for its car and passenger volumes. It had almost 1.5m passengers - growth of 7% on the previous year - and increased the number of cars carried by 10%.

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