The Summer 2017 Ferry Boom

The summer of 2017 saw a boom in ferry travel for agents all across Europe.

Earlier this year Pharos already reported that passenger ferry bookings had increased by more than 10% on average, a number confirmed to us by British and German tour operators and travel agents. Now we are able look back on this summer to check the latest trend. And the results are stunning.

DFDS announced during the second quarter of the year that while passenger numbers grew 7%, gross profit increased 12%.

Passengers and revenue went up 6% at Tallink Group. The famous Silja Line brand of Tallink even reported a passenger record in the company’s entire history for the month of July, carrying 1,208,156 passengers.

Viking Line, operating passenger ferries between Stockholm, Turku, Helsinki and the Aland Islands also reported an all-time record of 1,021,890 passengers carried in July 2017, a 9% increase compared to July 2016.

Further north the Wasaline connection between Vaasa (Finland) and Umea (Sweden) to the north of the Baltic Sea has seen a 10.5% increase in passengers and 13% in turnover.

In another geographic area of Europe, demand for ferry transport between the British Islands has grown by 4.2%. As far as the ferry services between Britain and her neighbours are concerned there are now 15,000 cabins on offer every night to Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland, according to Discover Ferries.

In Italy the Port of Civitavecchia reported an increase in ferry passengers of 11.8% in the first half of 2017 excluding turn-up-and-go tickets.

The number of busses carried on ferries rose 12.35% – and an astonishing 245.6% increase in campers. The top two destinations from Rome’s port of Civitavecchia are Olbia on Sardinia Island and Barcelona in Spain.

There are daily departures of Grimaldi Lines cruise ferries between Rome and Barcelona where the outlook for the second half of this year is very promising following results of the two months of July and August 2017 alone when 510,395 passengers travelled to Olbia and 86,734 to Barcelona.

Surveys among holidaymakers reveal that the heightened demand for passenger ferry transportation is due to increased security checks at airports, strict limitation of luggage allowance on flights, that all add up to a higher stress level in the traditional flight holiday package. In particular families with higher baggage demand have discovered ferry as a valuable alternative – even an exciting way to add a mini-cruise into their annual beach holiday.

Travel agents and tour operators across Europe benefit from this boom by packaging ferries and mini-cruises by utilising the unique API from Pharos, integrated with their booking system.


Come see Alan Warburton, managing director of Pharos, speak about intermodal travel, such as flight plus mini-cruise, during the 2017 Interferry Conference in Split, Croatia, October 7- 11 th.