Visitors to Orkney and Shetland will no longer need photo identification to board Serco NorthLink Ferries, Managing Director Stuart Garrett announced yesterday (Thursday 22 November 2012).
The move sees the services to Orkney and Shetland fall into line with other domestic ferry services. Serco NorthLink Ferries believes it will also boost tourism to the islands by allowing people to make unplanned visits.
Speaking at the Orkney Tourism Group Industry Conference Mr Garrett said: ““One of our main objectives is to make travel as easy and comfortable as possible for passengers, from the minute they visit our website to their arrival at the destination terminal. We are also working with VisitScotland and local tourism businesses to help boost tourism in Orkney and Shetland. Halting the need for photographic identity cards will make it easier for people to make spontaneous visits. It also makes the Northern Isles feel welcoming and inclusive from first impression.
“Since Serco started the operation of NorthLink Ferries we have had a number of representations questioning the need for photo identification when there is no similar requirement for other ferries operating within Scotland. We have listened to these calls and consulted with the Scottish Government and relevant local stakeholders. As a result we no longer see a requirement for all passengers to travel with photo identification. In some cases, passengers will still need identification to pick up pre-booked or discounted tickets. I advise customers to check the terms and conditions of their booking on our website –www.northlinkferries.co.uk.”
At his presentation to the Orkney Tourism Group Industry Conference Mr Garrett also introduced a number of on board improvements. “Work is already in progress to make better use of the space on board. We are introducing new premium reclining seats and new public showers as well as creating a bigger bar and restaurant area. We are also modernising the passenger entertainment offer with improved WiFi and video on demand. We will show case the new offers in the New Year.
“All of these initiatives will help attract customers to the ferries and therefore to the Northern Isles.”