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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 August, 2003, 08:14 GMT 09:14 UK
P&O passenger numbers drop
P&O ferry (P&O)
Ferry passenger numbers dipped as more people stayed in the UK
Ferry operator P&O has reported a drop in passenger numbers, saying fewer people travelled abroad in the wake of the Iraq war.

The company said passengers numbers on its key Dover to Calais route dipped 11% in the three months to June compared with the same period last year.

It added that tour operators' decision to shift their focus to the domestic market dented passenger numbers further, with coach tours down 7% in the first six months of the year.

But while services across the North Sea and the Western Channel, also carried fewer passengers, the Irish Sea routes did manage an improvement.

A 15% rise in vehicle numbers and a 4% increase in passengers on that route helped offset falling numbers on every other service.

The group also said that although overall passenger numbers were down, on-board spending by passengers had continued to rise during the last three months.

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