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Sunday sailings to Scilly are being considered

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

Negotiations are under way for the Scillonian III to sail seven days a week.

Negotiations are under way for the Scillonian III to sail seven days a week.

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SCILLY could see its first regular passenger sailings to and from the mainland on a Sunday under new plans to improve the situation before summer.

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company is negotiating to put the extra travel plans in place in time for the peak season.

Accommodation providers say any extra influx in visitors is to be welcomed, though some are keen to see what happens before giving an opinion on additional sailings.

Phillip Jones, owner of the Crebinick guest house on St Mary's, said: "Full marks to the Steamship Company for putting these plans in place – but only time will tell whether it makes a difference.

"It was nice to have one day when the islands weren't connected to the mainland – that made it a little bit special – but that has to be balanced by economics," he said.

"It's fine if things are firing on all cylinders, but if not it could be an area where things need to improve."

The Steamship Company is exploring the viability of seven-day-a-week sailing and will discuss its plans with staff, harbour authorities at either end of the link and those involved in island tourism.

Chief executive Jeff Marston said: "It remains our intention to operate a scheduled Sunday service during peak summer weekends, and we are in negotiations with a number of parties who will be necessary to making that happen.

He added that the changes wouldn't be rolled out to the aviation side of the business because of redevelopment work currently being carried out at St Mary's airport on Sundays.

"As soon as we are in a position to provide further details we will," he said.

Dave Meneer, who is jointly co-ordinating Scilly's Tourism and Business Partnership with Amanda Pender, the islands' current Local Action Group manager, welcomed the possibility of additional sailings.

"I think it's brilliant," he said. "I hope that we have at least a reasonable summer and then people will start to think, as they always used to, about coming over for the day.

"The moment people experience Scilly, if the weather's half-decent, it is a wonderful thing."

Sunday sailings could be a pivotal part of this summer's tourism industry, said Mr Meneer: "It's critical we get it right this season.

"We need to get the message out there that the Steamship Company can bring everyone out here. Traditionally the islands aren't open on Sundays and there'll be people saying it'll be great to have the islands buzzing on that day, but there are others who'll be uncomfortable with it."

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