Ipswich port operator ABP says leisure boat visitor numbers are on the up, thanks to hot summer

Ipswich Waterfront business operators:
Craig Ambury and Chris Spraggons (Allen Gardiner), Emma Ligh

Ipswich Waterfront business operators: Craig Ambury and Chris Spraggons (Allen Gardiner), Emma Lightfoot (Orwell Lady), Linda Pipe (ABP) and David 'Wes' Westwood, (Sailing Barge Victor). - Credit: Archant

Business at Ipswich’s Wet Dock is booming.

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ABP has announced a promising start to 2017, having seen a 16% increase in the number of passengers taking a river trip from the Waterfront in comparison to the same period in 2016.

This rise in leisure visits has come about thanks to a combination of the hottest summer East Anglia has seen since 1976 and the continuous improvement of the visitor and leisure trip offerings available from Ipswich Waterfront.

The town’s three trip boat operators are restaurant boat operator Allen Gardiner, River trip operator Orwell Lady and Ipswich’s own Thames sailing barge, TSB Victor. They all operate from Ipswich Waterfront and have seen an increase in the number of passengers and the trips that they offer.

In June, the three vessels carried 2,950 passengers compared with 2,551 last year, which is an increase of 15.6% with 131 trips against 107 in 2016.

A Tall Ship coming through the lock gates at Ipswich, from the Race of Classic 2017

A Tall Ship coming through the lock gates at Ipswich, from the Race of Classic 2017 - Credit: Archant

Paul Ager, port manager for ABP’s Port of Ipswich, said: “Leisure trip vessels are an important part of the Ipswich tourist offering and provide different ways in which visitors can experience Ipswich from the water, appreciating the beauty and tranquillity of the River Orwell. We are delighted to continue working with all three operators in promoting and growing their business.”

The Port of Ipswich has also seen an increase in overall trip numbers made during the first six months of the year - 285 sailings in total, which is an increase of 32 compared to 2016.

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Andrew Harston, ABP’s Port Director responsible for Ipswich, added: “The Ipswich Waterfront and the quality of the leisure activities it provides continues to improve and expand.

“This 16% increase in passenger numbers against a 12.6% increase in trips demonstrates that the collective efforts of the three leisure boat operators to attract more visitors is definitely working.

Owners and crew of Orwell Lady, Sailing Barge Victor and the Allen Gardiner River Cruise Restaurant

Owners and crew of Orwell Lady, Sailing Barge Victor and the Allen Gardiner River Cruise Restaurant after a successful Open Boat Weekend. - Credit: Archant

“The contribution of these businesses to the local tourism industry demonstrates why the Upper Orwell Crossing works must support their future growth and continue to provide effective navigational access for the variety of yachts, motor boats and traditional sailing ships, all of which help to make the Wet Dock the special place it is.”