Caledonian MacBrayne nominated Best Sea Carrier at National Coach Tourism Awards
Carrying more than 11,000 coaches in 2014, Caledonian MacBrayne is delighted to be shortlisted for a National Coach Tourism Award.
Nominated in the Best Sea-Carrier category, the total estimated persons journeying on those coaches is almost 500,000 - amounting to approximately 11 per cent of CalMac's annual passenger carriage in 2014 of 4.65million.
So, all in all, it's a busy sector generating significant tourism opportunities and the company has been working hard with destination marketing organisations, as well as the coach industry and visitor attractions to improve the experience still further.
It is the first time CalMac, which operates the UK's largest ferry network, has been shortlisted for a coach award and it reflects the developments made in 2014 to make life easier for coach and tour operators. The favoured coach routes include Arran, Bute, Mull, Cumbrae and Skye, though interest in other islands, including the Western Isles.
At their heart, these included the production of a tailored travel trade planning brochure for the first time. This publications was based on proactive consultation with coach and tour operators, addressing their requests for particular useful information which can now be found in one place.
It features a network map - Scotland's west coast geography can be confusing to many and it was a simple, at-a-glance way of helping to show what is available, where and on what routes - a range of more locally-focused network maps allowing for detailed forward planning, a full suite of coach fares for the 2015 season to allow forward planning, details of onboard hospitality and some featured destination suggestions.
In addition, Caledonian MacBrayne, due to the high quantity of visitors it carries, has worked and continues to work closely with visitor attractions to negotiate competitive rates, which it is then able to pass to coach and tour operators, to the benefit of all concerned.
"We are very proud to be nominated as Best Sea-Carrier at the National Coach Tourism Awards," said CalMac's senior coach and haulage account manager, Ian Fox. "Scotland's west coast islands are truly stunning and we are pleased to be able to help showcase them to thousands and thousands of people annually who journey there by coach.
"We have been building strong relationships with coach and tour operators, and will continue to do so."
CalMac is a winner of multiple awards, including The Guardian and Observer's Best Ferry Company for the last five years, and Ferry Operator of the Year at the National Transport Awards in 2014. In 2014, Caledonian MacBrayne carried 4.65 million passengers, 1.1 million cars, almost 93,000 commercial vehicles and more than 11,000 coaches, highlighting, perhaps, the level of importance the company places on both customer service and care.
Operating more than 130,000 separate sailings a year to 24 island destinations and on a number of mainland routes, CalMac ferries work out of 50 different ports, slipways and harbours the length of its 200-mile-long network.
The awards will be held at Bewdley in Worcestershire on May 14.
One of the 11,000 annual coaches boarding a ferry in Oban
Notes to editors:
1) Further information about CalMac is available at www.calmac.co.uk
2) Caledonian MacBrayne and CalMac are trading names of CalMac Ferries Ltd (CFL). Caledonian MacBrayne , CalMac and the lion rampant device are registered trademarks of Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL)and are used under licence by CalMac Ferries Ltd.
3) Coach carryings for the most popular routes in 2014 were as follows:
Colintraive to Rhubodach (Isle of Bute) - 2,768
Mallaig to Armadale (Isle of Skye) - 2,106
Oban to Craignure (Isle of Mull) - 1,841
Largs to Isle of Cumbrae - 880
Wemyss Bay to Rothesay (Isle of Bute) - 861
Ardrossan to Brodick (Isle of Arran) - 610
The Western Isles as coach tour destinations are growing and carriage figures for 2014 were as follows (percentage increase on 2013 in brackets):
Ullapool to Stornoway (Isle of Lewis) - 397 (+13.75%)
Uig (Isle of Skye) to Lochmaddy (Isle of North Uist) and Tarbert (Isle of Harris) - 331 (+27.8%)
Isle of Berneray to Leverburgh (Isle of Harris) - 202 (+16.09%)
Ardmhor (Isle of Barra) to Isle of Eriskay - 149 (+22.13%)
Oban to Castlebay (Isle of Barra) and Lochboisdale (Isle of South Uist) - 78 (+5.41%)