Ferry operators start consumer campaign

Ferry pressure group the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) is running a consumer media drive in time for VisitBritain’s Year of the Sea in 2005.

The 12-month PR push by BGB Communications begins in December, targeting consumer media in a bid to attract new ferry users and people who have not recently travelled by ferry.

Regional media in coastal areas will be used to demonstrate the convenience of ferry travel. Nationals and travel and lifestyle titles will be targeted to publicise the improvements operators have made to their fleets.

‘The past five years have been tough for the ferry industry, what with foot-and-mouth, changes to duty free and competition from low-cost airlines and Eurotunnel, but the ferry companies are here to stay,’ said PSA assistant director Bryony Coulson.

She said the industry had to promote itself because a ‘whole generation of children have grown up without having been on a ferry’.

The PSA will look to capitalise on VisitBritain’s 2005 Sea Britain campaign, celebrating the UK’s maritime heritage. It will include a festival to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar next October.

The PSA will provide Visit Britain with information for its website and PR, aimed at encouraging both UK and overseas tourists to visit British islands by ferry.

More than 90 per cent of the UK ferry industry is expected to be on board for the PR push, with smaller domestic firms joining multinational operators such as P&O Ferries, SeaFrance and Brittany Ferries.

The push follows PSA’s £50,000 four-month Sail and Drive campaign by BGB and AS Biss & Co, aimed at countering what the industry saw as misleading advertising from budget airlines.

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