The number of passengers the Steam Packet Company brought to the Isle of Man during the Festival of Motorcycling increased by 6.3% compared with last year, to 29,241.


The number of motorcycles carried also increased, up 4.5% to 4,013. It is the first time more than 4,000 motorcycles have been transported to the Island during the fortnight and reflects the growing interest in the event, as figures for just five years ago stood at 2,641.


There was also an increase in the number of cars, vans and trailers transported, rising by 4.6% to 5,782.


Crucially, extra freight services operated by MV Arrow freed up space on Ben-my-Chree during peak sailings, allowing additional demand to be accommodated.


Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘As anticipated, the final figures show a marked increase in passenger numbers for the Festival. The busy programme, including the Manx Grand Prix, Classic TT and Jurby Day, continues to attract more and more people to the event, which is very encouraging.


‘We have invested significantly to ensure the demand for travel can be met, including the strategic charter of MV Arrow to provide both backup and additional capacity during our busiest times, and will continue to support the growth of events in the Island.


‘We expect to see interest in the Festival of Motorcycling increase and, as we explained in our proposal to the Isle of Man Government, it is vital that the Island’s lifeline routes are secured and enhanced beyond 2026. Our proposal includes investment in vessels to replace Ben-my-Chree and Manannan, but also a provision to retain Ben-my-Chree to ensure events like the TT and Festival of Motorcycling can grow.’

Photograph: Courtesy of Dave Kneen