Brittany Ferries Calls For Covid-19 Vaccine Travel Corridors

By: Gary Andrews
PONT-AVEN at Plymouth. Image: Brittany Ferries
PONT-AVEN at Plymouth. Image: Brittany Ferries

With the news at the weekend that 15 million people in the UK have received their first Coronavirus vaccine, ferry company Brittany Ferries says now is the time for a re-think on travel corridors.

Brittany Ferries has noted that as well as the UK progress, vaccine rates are also rising rapidly in France and Spain . These are the countries it serves with ferries departing Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth. They are also the top two destinations for British holidaymakers.

Brittany Ferries believes that by summer, the case for reciprocal travel corridors – or as they call them “sea lanes” – to France and Spain should be persuasive. This is based on a logic that the majority of adults are likely to have been vaccinated and that infection rates are expected to have continued their downward trend as a consequence.

MONT ST MICHEL. Image: Brittany Ferries
MONT ST MICHEL. Image: Brittany Ferries

In France, Health Minister Olivier Véran has stated that four million people will be vaccinated by the end of February, rising to 43 million by the end of June. Brittany Ferries say that this means that around 80 per cent of the adult population in their most popular destination, should be vaccinated well ahead of the summer holiday season.

Vaccination rates in Spain are currently higher than in France by proportion of the population and, in the UK, all over-50s are forecast to have received the vaccine by the end of May.

Brittany Ferries CEO, Christophe Mathieu, comments;

“Vaccine roll-out is moving apace in the UK, thanks to the NHS, volunteers and support of the armed forces. While France and Spain are a little behind, the ramp-up is gaining significant momentum. We all believe that vaccines are the way out of this dreadful crisis. So by spring we think there will be a clear case for the adoption of vaccination-led travel corridors – or in our case sea lanes – that allow holidays to go ahead this summer and for hope to return.”
NORMANDIE EXPRESS.  Image: Brittany Ferries
NORMANDIE EXPRESS. Image: Brittany Ferries

Vaccination projections are of course not set in stone. Brittany Ferries also acknowledges that the Covid crisis is fluid and that protecting the health and wellbeing of the nation is key, meaning that circumstances may change. However, the ferry company believes that right now vaccine roll-out should be an opportunity to present hope and optimism for a brighter summer.

Brittany Ferries says that reciprocal travel corridors based on a combination of high vaccination rates and low infections, would offer a clear pathway towards a morale-boosting holiday, supporting the wellbeing of the nation. It is suggested that these measures could be supported by testing, and (potentially) vaccine passports.

Christophe Mathieu adds

“Now is the time for optimism, not a shutdown on the summer getaway. Lockdown Britons should look forward to holiday with growing confidence – and the time is ripe for a re-think on travel corridor policy. We should all be encouraged to book with companies that offer flexible travel, allowing easy amendments or refunds, in the event that the situation changes in the months ahead.”

Brittany Ferries has UK passenger routes from Portsmouth to Cherbourg, Le Havre, Caen, St Malo, Bilbao and Santander, Poole to Cherbourg and Plymouth to Roscoff and Santander.

The company also has passenger ferry services from Ireland to France and Spain, with Rosslare having

NORMANDIE. Image: Brittany Ferries
NORMANDIE. Image: Brittany Ferries

The company also has passenger ferry services from Ireland to France and Spain, with Rosslare having connections to Bilbao and Cherbourg, whilst Cork has a long-standing route to Roscoff. Recently Brittany Ferries has launched additional Brexit-beating freight services connecting Ireland to the Brittany ports of St Malo and Roscoff.

Brittany Ferries, as a company normally reliant on passengers, has been severely affected by Covid crisis and some routes remain suspended. However, the company has recently become more focussed on the potential of freight traffic, reporting significant increases in unaccompanied freight lately.

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