Visitor numbers to the Isles of Scilly rose for the first time since 2011 last year.
According to figures just released by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, the number of passengers it carried on its air and sea services rose 4.2% in 2014, to nearly 203,000.
Combined with record numbers of visitors from cruise ships to the islands during the summer, this has boosted the overall visitor market to the Isles of Scilly by 8% during the year.
Steamship Company chief executive, Rob Goldsmith, said: “We’re delighted that there has been a significant upturn in visitor numbers to Scilly and that the recent decline from the mainland has been halted.
“I believe it’s a result of a combination of factors including improved marketing and promotions, the growing impact of the Islands’ Partnership, the recovery in the UK economy, good summer weather, investment in new facilities, and fewer negative stories about Scilly’s transport issues in the media, especially after spring 2014.”
Goldsmith said numbers carried by the Steamship Company’s Scillonian III passenger ship increased by over 6% during the year, with strong growth in both staying and day trip visitors.
Air travel from Land’s End, Newquay and Exeter airports operated by in-house airline, Skybus, grew by nearly 2%, despite flight operations being severely disrupted by the prolonged closure of Land’s End Airport during the first quarter of the year due to waterlogging of its grass runways, and also throughout July to construct new tarmac runways.
But following the opening of the hard runways at Land’s End Airport last summer, total air passengers carried by Skybus to Scilly from all airports increased by 12% in the period from August to December, compared to the same period in 2013.