Jersey ferry passenger numbers down due to route closure

Condor Vitesse
Image caption Condor plans to return to operating fast ferries from the Channel Islands to both Weymouth and Poole

The number of ferry passengers arriving in Jersey fell by 12,000 last year compared to 2011, according to the island's director of tourism.

David de Carteret said the temporary closure of the Channel Islands-Weymouth route was one of the main reasons for the 14% drop in numbers.

Fast ferry services were transferred to Poole in February last year but are due to return in July.

Mr de Carteret said he hoped business would return once the route reopened.

He said there had been a focus on encouraging group bookings of bus tours, which would hopefully boost the numbers for 2013.

Mr de Carteret said Weymouth was preferred by some travellers as a ferry port.

He said: "It's the shortest Channel crossing, which a lot of people find appealing - they don't like to spend too long at sea".

July deadline

Services, which are all operated by Condor Ferries, were transferred due to concerns over the structural integrity of part of the ferry berth in Weymouth.

David Evans, director of environment for Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said the contractors rebuilding the quay are working seven days a week to meet the 17 July deadline for the ferry service's return.

He said: "Everybody's finding it tough in the current recession and that's why the borough council is putting enormous effort in getting the ferry port restored... we want the business to come back."

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