Brittany Ferries says open “sea lanes”, a vaccination-led approach to travel corridor policy

15th February 2021

As government hits its target for 15 million Covid vaccinations in the UK, Brittany Ferries says now is the time for a re-think on travel corridors.

While the focus today is rightly on the UK, the transport and holiday company notes that vaccination rates are rising significantly in France and Spain too. These are the countries it serves with ferries departing Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth. They are also the top two destinations for British holidaymakers.

By summer, the case for reciprocal travel corridors – in the case of Brittany Ferries “sea lanes” – to France and Spain should be persuasive. That’s because the majority of adults are likely to have been vaccinated and infection rates are expected to have continued their downward trend as a consequence.

In France, health minister Olivier Véran confirmed that four million people would be vaccinated by the end of February, rising to 43 million by the end of June. That means around 80 per cent of the adult population in Brittany Ferries’ 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, back home, all over-50s are forecast to have received the vaccine by the end of May.

“Vaccine roll-out is moving apace in the UK, thanks to the NHS, volunteers and support of the armed forces,” said Christophe Mathieu Brittany Ferries CEO. “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.”

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

Brittany Ferries says 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. These measures could be supported by testing, and (potentially) vaccine passports.

“Now is the time for optimism, not a shutdown on the summer getaway,” added Mathieu. “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.”

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