Ferry companies report boom in duty-free shopping for bargain hunters


Ferry operators have experienced a boom in duty-free sales since the restrictions were lifted, according to industry body Discover Ferries.

This year’s reintroduction of duty-free onboard shopping has resulted in increased pre-Christmas sales, with passengers enjoying discounted gifts and festive drinks on services to the Republic of Ireland, France, the Netherlands and the ‘Spain at the start of the year.

As Christmas approached, passengers took advantage of onboard savings – up to 40% off High Street prices on perfumes, cosmetics, jewelry, beers, wines and spirits.

The more unusual objects available on board are also preferred by passengers, who wish to recover something that they cannot find elsewhere.



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Scottish operator Caledonian MacBrayne offers a selection of activewear for wild swimmers, hikers, cyclists, as well as designer clothing and prints.

Likewise, ferry-themed toys like shipbuilding sets and stuffed animals are popular gifts for future sailors and naval engineers.



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Operators are also seeing increased sales of gift certificates to provide family and friends with their own travel options.

Abby Penlington, Director of Discover Ferries, said: ‘We have seen how eager the Brits are to experience the journey again, whether it is a stay in the UK, on ​​the Isle of Man or in the Channel Islands, a boat and car tour around Ireland, France, Spain or the Netherlands or simply a day trip on the Thames or across Isle of Wight.

“The myriad of freebies offered by ferry operators, ranging from experiences to toys and more traditional duty free items, means that the British public no longer see ferries simply as a means to reach different destinations, but as a retailer and a provider of unique travel experiences. “

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