THE announcement of a new twice-weekly ferry service between Cork and Spain and the addition of an extra weekly return sailing to Roscoff has been hailed as significant for both tourism and business in the region.
The Port of Cork and Cork Chamber welcomed the announcement which will enhance significant freight and tourist activity already established in Cork.
Brittany Ferries announced yesterday that they will begin a new route into Santander, northern Spain, starting at the end of April. The service will be the first ferry service linking Ireland and Spain.
Port of Cork Commercial Manager Captain Michael McCarthy, said: “We are delighted that our long-term customer, Brittany Ferries, has committed to this new service which will see an increase in tourism and freight. The option for freight carriers to bypass the UK land bridge will be seen as very attractive, as Brexit uncertainty continues,” he added.
“We have no doubt that both exporters and importers will make this a viable service.”
On board, passengers can expect a comfortable, no-frills service with a distinctly Spanish theme. There will be a small shop and café bar as well as passenger lounges. Interior and exterior cabins are spacious, with beds for up to four passengers — and four-legged members of the family will also be accommodated on board thanks to a small allocation of pet-friendly cabins.
Cork Chamber Chief Executive Conor Healy said:
“Our new link to Northern Spain by sea is really good news for both tourism and business in Cork.”
“Not least in the context of Brexit it is important for Ireland to have better direct connectivity to our key markets in Europe to enable the continued growth of Irish exporting business.
“I have no doubt Northern Spain will also prove hugely popular for leisure tourism, both for Spanish visitors wanting to explore the Wild Atlantic Way or Ireland’s Ancient East, as well as Irish people wishing to experience the Camino or indeed the Heineken Cup taking place in Bilbao in May.”
The added frequency to France comes as Brittany Ferries celebrates 40 years in business in Ireland and a successful Cork-Roscoff service.
“2017 saw a significant increase in overseas visitors to Ireland with France having recorded strong growth,” said Mr Healy.
“Added capacity on Cork’s connectivity to France will be key to ensure we build on this growth throughout 2018 and beyond” he added.