Dover has seen growth in ferry passengers for the second year running, according to figures for 2006.
The Port of Dover said it was evidence the popularity of the ferry was returning after the boom in no-frill airlines.
The ports figures for last year show growth of 3.4% in the number of passengers using Dover’s ferry services to Calais, Boulogne and Dunkerque to nearly 14 million, while tourist cars increase 3.6% to 2.6 million.
Kate O’Hara, head of commercial and marketing, Port of Dover, said: “Cheap airfares are a perception, but in reality, when you add together the full cost of reaching a destination, ferry travel is often a lot cheaper. It is certainly more convenient, less hassle and a much more enjoyable travel experience.”
The port used the increased passenger figures to lobby for expansion. Port of Dover chief executive Bob Goldfield said the Eastern Docks Ferry Terminal was running at nearly full capacity at peak times and ferry facilities must be expanded in the near future if the port was to continue to operate efficiency.
“We are therefore looking at creating a second ferry terminal at the Western Docks and we believe we will need this by 2012 or 2013,” he said
Dover Cruise Port is due to host a national cruise trade fair in May in association with the Passenger Shipping Association’s travel agents division. Travel Weekly is the event’s media partner.