Northlink Ferries Set For Sell-out Summer As TV Series Boost Visitor Numbers To Record Highs
3rd June 2019
Northern Isles ferry operator Serco NorthLink Ferries is predicting its busiest ever holiday season. The company has just completed training for its 31 seasonal Passenger Service Assistants who have joined the team ahead of the summer surge.
Bookings in 2019 have already been extremely strong, fuelled especially by interest in the Shetland TV crime series, the trend in mindfulness, and staycation demand due to Brexit uncertainty. Customer feedback also indicates that the islands' combination of wildlife, landscapes and heritage remain important in attracting visitors from throughout the UK and abroad.
Stuart Garrett, Serco's managing director for NorthLink Ferries, said: "Summer time in Orkney and Shetland is a unique experience that really does have to be seen to be believed. Our vessels are going through their annual upgrade offering something new for even returning passengers. Our staff, and everyone involved in hospitality in the islands, are ready to go for another outstanding summer."
The tourism season gets fully underway even before the Scottish school holidays, with many tourists drawn to the ‘simmer dim’ on 21 June, when there will be nearly 19 hours of daylight. The wide range of outdoor, music and culture festivals across Orkney and Shetland also got underway in May, marking the start of a very busy five months for the ferries.
Chris Taylor, VisitScotland regional leadership director, said: "Both Orkney and Shetland are a huge draw for visitors, with their stunning landscapes, rich history and heritage, inspiring culture and warmth of the people. These combine to make the islands a real must-visit, must-return destination for the discerning traveller looking for an adventure in Scotland.
“Testament to their popularity is the news just this week that Shetland has been included in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 ‘Best in Europe’ list - the only UK destination on the list - which is a fantastic accolade.
“Scotland’s appearances in TV in shows like ‘Shetland’ have the potential to reach huge global audiences and play an influential role in where visitors choose to travel. We know from research that one in five visitors are inspired to visit after seeing the country on-screen. Almost a third of visitors (29%) of visitors to Orkney were inspired to visit by a TV programme, so the opportunities for the tourism industry are immense."
Last year, NorthLink ferried around 137,000 passengers to the Northern Isles during June, July and August, from a total of 323,000.
For more information on NorthLink Ferries visit www.northlinkferries.co.uk/
Serco, the international service company, has been selected as preferred bidder to continue managing and operating the lifeline Northern Isles Ferry Services for passengers and freight between the Scottish mainland and the Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands, providing essential access and supplies for the islanders. The outcome of the tender was announced by the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands to The Scottish Parliament this morning.
Company is first Scottish transport operator to introduce pioneering support service. Serco NorthLink Ferries has partnered with one of Scotland's digital start-ups to improve journeys for customers who require additional support.
Visitors to some of Scotland's main agricultural shows this summer could win free travel to the Northern Isles on board Serco NorthLink Ferries. Anyone stopping by the company's stand at the Royal Highland Show, Caithness Show, Turriff Show or Isles Shows will be able to enter a prize draw for a trip on board its vessels.
Whether it's a day of pampering and relaxation or one of adventure and activities, Mother's Day is always the perfect opportunity to remind mums how special they are. As sons and daughters travel this weekend to see their mums, NorthLink Ferries is helping those still searching for that perfect gift by offering the chance to win a beautiful handmade pendant from Shetland Jewellery.
Serco NorthLink Ferries has been commended by the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, for developing young people from Shetland and Orkney and becoming the first and only ferry operator in Scotland to receive the highest Investors in People accreditation. As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2019, 11 apprentices with NorthLink Ferries met the Minister at NorthLink's Stromness office where they discussed the benefits of modern apprenticeships and the opportunities being presented to them by Serco, the operator of the lifeline ferry service.
NorthLink Ferries is set to star in a new STV documentary on Friday (08 March 2019), providing viewers across the country with a unique insight into life on board the company's passenger services. Titled All Aboard and broadcast at 8pm, the 30 minute programme follows MV Hrossey as she travels between Aberdeen and Lerwick, offering a behind the scenes chance to see the many roles of crewmembers as well as a glimpse into island life and the stories of those making their way to and from the mainland.
The Serco NorthLink freight ship Helliar is now running the Stromness to Scrabster ferry route while the Hamnavoe has its refit this week. Bad weather is affecting trips today and tomorrow per the Serco Northlink website - Updated Wednesday 16th January at 13:30 M.V.
NorthLink Ferries has published timetables confirming arrangement for the regular planned maintenance of its passenger vessels, with one vessel at a time due to be out of service between 13 January and 25 March 2019. MV Hamnavoe, which operates between Scrabster and Stromness, will be removed from service for five days from 13 - 19 January and MV Hjaltland and MV Hrossey on the Aberdeen to Kirkwall and Lerwick route from 2 - 18 February and 19 - 25 March.
Northern Isles ferry operator NorthLink Ferries has reported a 10 per cent increase in the volume of passengers who have travelled on the route network since the firm took over running the lifeline ferry service in July 2012. The passenger increase coincides with recent VisitScotland tourism figures which highlighted a rise in visitors to Orkney by 20 per cent since 2013, while the number of visitors to Shetland increased by 10 percent over the same period.
Northern Isles school pupils are calling for passengers' attention with the introduction of refreshed safety briefing announcements on board NorthLink Ferries passenger vessels. As part of the Scottish Government's Year of Young People 2018, the lifeline ferry service chose four students from Anderson High School in Lerwick for the announcement on MV Hjaltland and MV Hrossey and a further four pupils from Stromness Primary School in Orkney for the MV Hamnavoe recording.
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