Ferry fares scheme boosts tourism on Arran

The Arran economy is reaping significant benefits from a Scottish Government scheme to reduce ferry fares, according to a new study.

The introduction of Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) in October 2014 saw ferry fares on the Ardrossan-Brodick and Claonaig-Lochranza routes fall by as much as 55% for passengers and 65% for cars.

The report was carried out over a two year period, and involved engagement with ferry users, local households, businesses and hauliers. The full report can be accessed here.

Key findings in the report include:

• Pedestrian and car carryings have risen significantly on both the Ardrossan-Brodick (pedestrians up 15%, cars up 51%) and Claonaig-Lochranza (pedestrians up 42%, cars up 60%) routes since the introduction of RET fares.

• 11% of visitors questioned on the Ardrossan-Brodick route and 17% on the Claonaig–Lochranza said their journey had been wholly prompted by RET fares.

• Businesses report that the introduction of RET has significantly extended the tourist season on Arran.

• Local hotels and guesthouses have reported rises in occupancy, whilst visitor attractions have also seen increased footfall.

• The introduction of RET to Arran and neighbouring islands and peninsulas has enhanced the island/peninsula-hopping tourism market.

Speaking during a visit to Arran, Minister for Transport and the Islands Humza Yousaf said:

“The findings of this new report are very encouraging and show that Road Equivalent Tariff is doing exactly what it was designed to do – increase island tourism and help enhance local island economies.

“Local businesses are highly positive about the impact of RET, with the majority of firms citing increases in both footfall and turnover. The tourism sector in particular is seeing the biggest benefits, from hotels and guesthouses to golf courses and other visitor attractions.

“The report shows that island residents have an overwhelmingly positive view of the introduction of RET, saying it has enhanced the social, cultural and economic opportunities on the island. A number of businesses are taking on new staff, as well as investing in and expanding their operations.

“This report will also help us plan for the future and manage the impact of the increasing demand for travel to and from Arran.  The rise in the number of vehicle carryings is one particular area that CalMac will continue to monitor. We are already responding with a major redevelopment of Brodick harbour and a new, larger vessel due to arrive in 2018. CalMac have also agreed some innovative measures with the Arran community to address particular peaks in demand.

“The roll out of RET to the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services network was a key commitment from the Scottish Government, so I’m very pleased to see it making ferry travel more affordable, as well as helping support our island economies."

Published 17 Feb 2017 Tags