The Isles of Scillies Steamship Group has reported a 9% increase in passenger numbers for the first seven months of the year, reflecting continued growth in the market between the mainland and the Isles of Scilly.

The Group, which operates Skybus flights to the Scillies from Land’s End, Newquay and Exeter airports, and passenger and freight services by sea from Penzance, said it carried 124,122 passengers to the end of July this year, representing growth of almost 9% compared to the same period in 2014.The sea market grew by 10% and air travel increased by 7%.

This compares with a 9% and 6% rise in air and sea passengers respectively in the 12 month period to the end of July, suggesting that growth remains on an upward curve.

Commenting on the figures Rob Goldsmith, Chief Executive of the Steamship Group said: “These numbers are extremely encouraging and a welcome boost for the whole tourism economy of the Isles of Scilly.

“We saw significant upturn in the market during 2014 and it was important to do everything possible to try to stimulate the market in 2015 to create a positive trend. I believe there has been a significant beneficial impact of more sophisticated and joined-up marketing of the Isles of Scilly by the Islands’ Partnership, ourselves and other key business players on the Isles.”

Last month the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group announced the purchase of an additional Islander aircraft to take its Skybus fleet to eight aircraft and will also be investing in other supporting infrastructure for air and sea services between the mainland and the Isles of Scilly such as a new Rosenbauer fire truck at Land’s End Airport and a major refurbishment of Penzance Dry Dock, which maintains the Company’s vessels.

Rob added: “We have invested more than £10m over the last five years in improving services between the mainland and the Isles of Scilly, and these latest investments show our ongoing commitment to ensure that we continue to enhance our capacity in parallel with our efforts to stimulate further market growth.”