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ballaughbiker

Latest Steam Packet Nonsense

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Well it wasn't much of a request, take the car to England in December and come back in March. No can't do that 'cos the website says they're not taking bookings for 2010 yet although a few trial dates showed they were for January. There might be a boat in the morning if I don't like it but not one in March until Mr W gets off his ass.

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I only hope that they get their 'marketing' act into gear as early as possible for 2010 Spring, Summer and Autumn. With the £ being forecast to drop to parity with the € in 2010 it should be a great year to market holidays for UK viitors and for visitors from Europe. How about for example say 75 REALLY inexpensive family + Car fares available on each ferry sailing through April - October provide they are booked before mid-March and subject to them not having all been sold on the days in question.

 

Given the exchange rate issues in 2010 (and our economic woes) the DOL and the IOMSPC should be extracting digits now to take advantage of this and to exted the 'season' as far as possible at both ends - no more <40% utilisation of ships....

 

Of course Mr Woodward has said previously on this forum that it is not possible to market given that there is only a population of 84,000 on the Island (as the French say incroyable!!!)

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I noticed this, i wanted to book a boat, but i couldn't so i booked a flight instead...SPC fail

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I wonder if pull out time for MacQuarries is nigh - however a more mundane reason might be that they don't know what boats they will have next year - one seacat should be coming to the end of its lease whilst they have in the past stated they wanted to get rid of the smallest one.

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I wonder if pull out time for MacQuarries is nigh - however a more mundane reason might be that they don't know what boats they will have next year - one seacat should be coming to the end of its lease whilst they have in the past stated they wanted to get rid of the smallest one.

Hmmm, maybe it is time to extend zero/10 to certain other industries and monpoly's e.g. the SP.

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The seacat that they had on lease (Viking / Superseacat 2) has been returned to its owners and been sold on, now called “Hellenic Wind” and is out in Greece.

Apart from Manannan, the only other seacat they have is Snaefell and they were unsuccessful when they tried to sell it a few years ago.

If you read Woodward’s blog on the packets website he blames the IOM Govt. for the delay in publishing the 2010 timetable, because the OFT have asked for a lot of information. Can you believe that the top finance people at the packet are the same people who work out the timetable for 2010? Come on Woodward, who are you trying to kid. Your Australian masters have not told you if you can use the old seacat next year on the Dublin/Belfast service.

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maybe they will fail to meet the not exactly onerous user agreement - they have tried before to get out of the required Irish link - however knowing the transit velocity of brown envelopes I suspect the Irish service is off next year.

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Whatever happens, it's likely that the Ben will go twice a day, every day but you can't even book that. I want to go in a couple of weeks and I refuse to book a single fare (plus another in a few weeks) which is the only option at the moment. (Don't want to risk a £25 surcharge Roxanne)

Edited by ballaughbiker

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I wonder if pull out time for MacQuarries is nigh - however a more mundane reason might be that they don't know what boats they will have next year - one seacat should be coming to the end of its lease whilst they have in the past stated they wanted to get rid of the smallest one.

My bet remains on a McQuarie pull out whilst there is still 'goodwill' value left in the existing 'User Agreement' for the funds that own the IOMSPC - given the UA runs to 2026 I would start the 'book' on the sale in the range 2012- 2015. Leave it too long and the asset that currently seems to have greatest value for the IOMSPC's owners ('near monopoly' access to the Linkspan) will start to devalue like topsy for any prospective purchaser. However there has to be some signs of economic recovery to stimulate a bid.

 

I assume that if the Irish sailings were actually to be stopped in 2010 it would mean a complete renegotiation of the UA anyway as the current agreement is subject to the full not the partial sailing service provision. Of course it could be a way for the Government to extract some much needed cash -"you want to renege on a core element of the UA - that will be £5 million p.a. for the remaining duration of the UA"...

 

It seems crazy to pull out of a service to the eurozone at a time when the euro has risen in value versus sterling by nearly 50% in 2 years (and is predicted to reach parity with sterling in time for the 2010 holisay season).

 

Far more sensible IMO to use competitive pricing to build up the level of utilisation of the fleet to be able to add value to a future sale. Not an uncommon model when planning to sell a business. The current <40% utilisation is not exacly brilliant.

 

Mind you when Mr W thinks his core market is the 84,000 men, women and children living on the Island what can you expect?

 

The other worrying element in all of this for the Tourism industry here is that many people in the UK and Ireland (and elsewhere) begin planning their 2010 summer holidays around Christmas/new Year time. If the DoTL and the IOMSPC can't get something attractive out by year end they will have literally and figuratively missed the boat on the opportunities weak sterling offers for the 2010 season.

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@manshimajin

 

Agreed that parity is certainly a likely psychological target and a nice round number (although it won't be a straight run because there is lots of money to be made on various ups and downs around different positions before that). It's already close to parity for tourists anyhow.

 

But you are over valuing the value to the island of Irish tourism. Most people want the sun on their holidays. Irish people are unlikely to come to the island in great numbers for the walking and the fresh air and the scenery - since that aspect of the island is not so different from what they have got at home.

 

RyanAir is now flying cheap and direct to the Canaries from Dublin - and the Spanish property collapse already makes that a cheap destination in terms of accommodation etc.

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Agreed that parity is certainly a likely psychological target and a nice round number (although it won't be a straight run because there is lots of money to be made on various ups and downs around different positions before that). It's already close to parity for tourists anyhow.

 

But you are over valuing the value to the island of Irish tourism. Most people want the sun on their holidays. Irish people are unlikely to come to the island in great numbers for the walking and the fresh air and the scenery - since that aspect of the island is not so different from what they have got at home.

 

RyanAir is now flying cheap and direct to the Canaries from Dublin - and the Spanish property collapse already makes that a cheap destination in terms of accommodation etc.

Agree to a point but this year the IOMSPC did very little advertising in the Republic (don't know about the North) and then said 'numbers are down'. If you start advertising in March/April 2010 a very high percentage of destination decisions have already been made and packages booked. It really is close to inexcusable if they don't get the advertisements out by end December 2009.

 

Don't forget that euro/pound parity really does mean that instead of getting 70 pence per euro as it was just over 2 years ago the eurozone tourists will be getting 100 pence per euro which means each euro goes 43% further than it did then (discounting inflation which is low anyway)! Of course it won't be a straight line to parity but listening to the 'currency experts' the consensus sems to be that it will happen somehwere in Q2 2010.

 

I agree that many people want to go to the sun but:

  • a lot of UK tourists will find it very expensive to go to Euroland next year,
  • some Irish folk may just feel that having their euro stretch 40% further in the sterling area makes it more attractive than in the past,
  • if we were like the UK Tourist Board and many of the regional boards there we would also be targeting Germans, French, Spanish, Australian etc etc tourists - I acceot that we cant do the big spends on this but we don't even have a foreign language section on the website (and speaking from experience with having to put a website into Japanese it is not expensive [btw what did happen to that Manx shopping portal? Must try and find the thread again])

IMO 2010 is a year of exceptional opportunity for sterling area tourism because of the gowing weakness of Sterling. What worries me is whether the DoTL and the IOMSPC will try to do anything about it or just assume that 'busines as usual' will suffice.

Edited by manshimajin

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In many ways, from a tourism perspective, the IOM is Irelandlite. I just do not think the island is going to hold so much appeal for people from Ireland. Not like the 1970s and earlier. The scenery is just as good over there - and Ireland has fantastic multi ethnic restaurants etc. It's a modern European country. Even despite the economic down turn it is still much better off than it was for years.

 

Maybe the IOMSPco should be allowed to drop the Irish routes if there is no longer much demand. Personally I would be sorry to see the links finally dropped but it has to be about whether the sailings are really economically viable. There isn't even a great Irish diaspora on the IOM like there is in Liverpool. And not a great deal in terms of cultural ties either. In some ways the IOM has more in common with the north.

 

As far as sterling being weak - honestly I think that most people factored that in ages ago already. And the sunny places are already relatively cheap on the back of the whole property collapse etc.

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In many ways, from a tourism perspective, the IOM is Irelandlite. I just do not think the island is going to hold so much appeal for people from Ireland. Not like the 1970s and earlier. The scenery is just as good over there - and Ireland has fantastic multi ethnic restaurants etc. It's a modern European country. Even despite the economic down turn it is still much better off than it was for years.

 

Maybe the IOMSPco should be allowed to drop the Irish routes if there is no longer much demand. Personally I would be sorry to see the links finally dropped but it has to be about whether the sailings are really economically viable. There isn't even a great Irish diaspora on the IOM like there is in Liverpool. And not a great deal in terms of cultural ties either. In some ways the IOM has more in common with the north.

 

As far as sterling being weak - honestly I think that most people factored that in ages ago already. And the sunny places are already relatively cheap on the back of the whole property collapse etc.

 

No cultural ties with Ireland?

Before the English decided to come on holiday there was far more in common with Ireland!

 

Finn McCool made the Island

Mannanan MacLir came from Ireland

St Patrick brought christianity to the Island

Manx Gaelic, the superstitions, the fairies, the music etc etc.

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In many ways, from a tourism perspective, the IOM is Irelandlite. I just do not think the island is going to hold so much appeal for people from Ireland. Not like the 1970s and earlier. The scenery is just as good over there - and Ireland has fantastic multi ethnic restaurants etc. It's a modern European country. Even despite the economic down turn it is still much better off than it was for years.

 

Maybe the IOMSPco should be allowed to drop the Irish routes if there is no longer much demand. Personally I would be sorry to see the links finally dropped but it has to be about whether the sailings are really economically viable. There isn't even a great Irish diaspora on the IOM like there is in Liverpool. And not a great deal in terms of cultural ties either. In some ways the IOM has more in common with the north.

 

As far as sterling being weak - honestly I think that most people factored that in ages ago already. And the sunny places are already relatively cheap on the back of the whole property collapse etc.

 

No cultural ties with Ireland?

Before the English decided to come on holiday there was far more in common with Ireland!

 

Finn McCool made the Island

Mannanan MacLir came from Ireland

St Patrick brought christianity to the Island

Manx Gaelic, the superstitions, the fairies, the music etc etc.

 

Agree - our cultural links are what places the Isle of Man at the centre of the Celtic World. I'd be very upset if the Irish boats ceased as I hate flying. The north of England has a few good Irish traditional music sessions, but no Gaeltach areas! I don't care if the Irish services aren't economically viable - they are just that, a service - it's up to the Steam Packet and the Tourist Board to promote events to fill the boats. Thousands of people descend on locations in Ireland if some clever bugger announces that the Virgin Mary is due to appear, and tens of thousands go to Loch Ness from all over the world. Promotion is what's needed - we need to have fairy sightings!

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Want to come back for Christmas as a foot passenger from Heysham on 23rd December - simple enough. Conversation went like this:

 

Are you booking a car on?

No.

Then we're fully booked.

Eh? so is that 500 foot passengers on that sailing?

Must be (followed by) yes.

 

Anyway all is not lost, there's always Christmas Eve. I just hope the three trains to Heysham work out OK.....

 

In my 30+ years of dealing with the Racket this is the first time (apart from TT) that I've found the boat (as opposed to fast craft)has been fully booked for foot passengers unless you know different.

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