Despite the recession, the AS Tallink Grupp carried a record 8.1m (+15%) passengers during its last financial year ending August 31, with duty free and travel retail sales remaining steady around the $600m level –
as in the previous year.
The Baltic ferry operator pointed to new ships and more modern sales systems as the main reason behind its continued increases in passengers numbers.
Tallink Vice Chairman of the Board Andres Hunt said: ‘Renewal of routes during last years has had very positive feedback from the passengers. Our new sales system enables us to implement a more active selling strategy and it has significantly increased – for instance – booking our trips online. Due to the general economic situation people also prefer spending their vacation in nearby countries and take their car with them,’ he said.
The largest growth at the ferry and cruise company was seen on its Latvia-Sweden route, where Tallink transported 520,505 (+46%) passengers. The largest number of passengers – 3,485,359 (+19%) was transported on the Estonia-Finland route.
The Finland-Sweden route also experienced an increase of 11% in passenger volumes, reaching 3,169,453. On the Estonia-Sweden route, on which the new cruise ferry Baltic Queen was launched in the spring, 850,098 (+10%) passengers were serviced. The only decrease (-32%) in passenger volumes was seen on the Finland-Germany route, where two ferries operated this year compared to three in the previous 12-month period.
AS Tallink Grupp is the leading passenger shipping company on the Baltic Sea, owning 20 vessels and operating under brands of Tallink and Silja Line on seven different shipping routes. Tallink has 6,900 employees in Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Russia and Germany.
Tallink Silja Line alone has a duty free and travel retail penetration rate of around 95%, with sales per passenger standing at around E.55 ($80). Liquor is the top-selling category of merchandise with sales of around E.162.3m ($235.9m) last year, ahead of Beauty with E.81.6m ($118.6m); Tobacco E.65.3m ($94.9m); confectionery and food $57.1m ($83m); Luxurygoods/fashion E.40.8m ($59.3m).