23 September 2020
Research from industry body Discover Ferries, reveals that more Brits would feel safe from Coronavirus infection travelling by ferry than by aeroplane, train or coach*.
The news has been welcomed by ferry bosses and comes after campaigns to promote the benefits of travelling by water. However, results show there is still more to be done to reassure an anxious public that ferry safe means very safe.
In total, 32% said they would feel safe from Coronavirus infection travelling by ferry. That compares with 24% for planes, 30% for trains and 26% for coaches. Discover Ferries is encouraging those who are still concerned to visit www.discoverferries.com/ferrysafe to learn more about measures being taken on board, or to visit dedicated Coronavirus pages on members’ websites.
“It is encouraging to see that Brits consider ferry travel to be the safest form of public transport during the pandemic,” said Abby Penlington, director of Discover Ferries. “Ferries naturally lend themselves to social distancing, with spacious passenger areas and access to fresh air on most vessels so perhaps that’s not surprising. What worries us more is the significant proportion who remain unconvinced and may therefore be delaying travel plans as a consequence.”
Operators have been working hard to implement and communicate strict COVID safe measures on board. And there is still more work to be done. However, the survey also shows that factors outside the control of the industry are adding to travellers’ anxiety, the most significant being quarantine restrictions. When considering future holidays abroad, just under three quarters of Brits (74%) say they are concerned about the possibility of having to quarantine when they arrive at their destination and 65% are concerned about the possibility of having to quarantine when they return home**.
This level of anxiety has barely changed since June**, when Discover Ferries commissioned its first Coronavirus public sentiment survey, before lockdown travel restrictions were eased.
“Our sector recognises the balance needed to protect public health and support the UK economy during Coronavirus,” added Penlington. “So, we understand that quarantine can be an important step to prevent its spread. But like others in the travel sector, we believe that the government should adopt a more regional approach to travel sanctions. It should also carefully consider allowing testing to shorten quarantine times, once testing capacity is available. This would bring greater stability to the industry and, in turn, reassure passengers who wish to book an autumn get-away or their 2021 break now.”
For further information on how the ferry industry is responding to COVID-19, please visit: www.discoverferries.com/ferrysafe
Research for Discover Ferries was carried out online by Censuswide on 3rd to 6th September 2020 amongst a panel resulting in 2,001 responses from general consumers in the UK. All the research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines.
*Combination of ‘Very safe’ and ‘Somewhat safe’ responses when asked how safe or unsafe from Coronavirus infection people felt about travelling on a list different forms of transport including: Train, Ferry, Aeroplane, Car, Motorhome / Campervan, Coach, Motorbike / Moped / Scooter, Cycle.
**Combination of ‘Very concerned’ and ‘Somewhat concerned’ responses
***Consumer research commissioned by Discover Ferries with Opinion Matters, which surveyed 2,005 UK adults in June 2020. In June, 75% of people were concerned about having to quarantine when arriving at their destination, compared to 74% in September 2020. The June survey revealed 69% of people were concerned about the prospect of having to quarantine when returning from holidays abroad, compared to 65% in September.
About Discover Ferries
Discover Ferries is an industry body representing 13 ferry operators in the UK, the British Islands and Ireland operating more than 80 routes. Its role is to promote ferry travel and holidays. The carriage of freight vehicles is also a very important part of the Discover Ferries’ members’ business.
Discover Ferries members are: Brittany Ferries, Caledonian MacBrayne, Condor Ferries, DFDS, Hovertravel, Irish Ferries, Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, Isles of Scilly Travel, Uber Boat by Thames Clippers, P&O Ferries, Red Funnel, Stena Line and Wightlink. Discover Ferries members serve London, Channel Islands, Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, Isles of Scilly, Scottish Islands, Ireland, Spain, France, Belgium and Holland.
Discover Ferries confirmed that 2019 saw over 37 million passenger journeys by ferry, 8.7m car journeys as well as over 137,190 coaches.