Brittany Ferries considers running ferry service to Portugal from Portsmouth to capitalise on country's green light travel status
HOLIDAY-MAKERS may soon be able to set sail to a foreign destination from Portsmouth as a ferry firm looks to launch a service to Portugal to capitalise on the country’s green light travel status.
Brittany Ferries is exploring the possibility of launching a service to Porto - and talks are underway to make Portsmouth the departure point.
The ferry firm already runs services to France and Spain from Portsmouth – but these have been temporarily shelved due to the travel restrictions.
Both France and Spain remain on the amber list, with a review scheduled to take place every three weeks from May 17, meaning travellers must quarantine at home for 10 days on their return.
Portugal was one 12 green list countries given green status, meaning they are considered safer for travellers, with lower levels of coronavirus rates of infection and good take-up of vaccines.
Travellers returning from these countries also do not need to isolate and only need to take one test on their return.
Brittany Ferries has not made an official statement but a source said the company was keen to start services, using either the Pont-Aven or Cap Finistere.
They said that two ports were being considered, either Portsmouth or Plymouth, however a lot of work needed to be done to get the services operational.
They said: ‘We are seriously looking into running a UK-Porto route by the end of this month to tap into Portugal’s status as a green traffic light country.’
The news would be a welcome boost to Portsmouth's tourism industry, and has been welcomed by Mike Sellers, Portsmouth International Port’s director.
He said the port had been working hard to ensure it is ready for the return of passengers.
During lockdown it has brought in a range of measures to make the port Covid safe, such as thermal cameras, and it has installed a second temporary terminal to cope with increased footfall as cruise services begin again and encourage social distancing.
Mike said: ‘There is pent up demand for travel after restrictions on foreign holidays, so it makes sense Brittany Ferries is exploring potential additional routes.
‘Ferry travel provides one of most comfortable ways to travel, while managing Covid-19 protection measures.
‘We would happily support Brittany Ferries as we are in great position to welcome passengers.
‘We were the first port to have our health protocols verified and install a thermal camera, and are concentrating our efforts on creating a safe and pleasant environment for when holidays can return.’
As previously reported Brittany Ferries has also held its prices for 2021 to encourage people to travel with them.
CEO Christophe Mathieu said: ‘We want to remind people that there are attractive alternatives to air travel this summer.
‘Taking the ferry means there’s no need to mingle in a busy terminal building, or arrivals hall, alongside passengers from multiple destinations.’