(23 June 2021) Brittany Ferries today stands shoulder-to-shoulder with ABTA, airlines and others in the travel sector in supporting its Day of Action.
The maritime company, which serves holiday destinations in France and Spain from Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth, says that the entire sector is under threat. Furthermore, it says Brits are being unfairly denied the summer get-away they deserve – and need.
The peak summer holiday season is just around the corner. Yet there is still no transparency in the application of the government’s traffic light system for international travel. For example there is no clarity on the criteria by which a country may move from the amber list to green. This has created uncertainty among travel companies and their customers, which has hit summer bookings hard.
This year will be another hammer blow to Brittany Ferries’ fortunes. In 2019 the company carried 545,000 passengers during the peak summer season. In 2020 it carried 242,000. This year, reservations stand at just 173,000 passengers, less than a third of a normal year.
Variants of concern are cited by government as the reason for keeping countries like Spain on the amber list. But this reasoning is far too vague and is unreasonably risk-averse. Effectively it could mean the indefinite application of self-isolation measures for those returning to the UK.
At the start of 2020, the British people were told that the vaccination programme was their passport out of the Covid crisis. They have done their bit: now government must open the door to destinations where vaccination rates are high and Covid incidence is low. France and Spain must be moved immediately to the green list.
At the very least, government should clarify its position on double-vaccinations. The requirement for self-isolation must be discontinued for any fully-jabbed passenger returning to the UK from an amber list country.