Travel green list: Brittany Ferries freezes prices over summer as Portsmouth travel sector prepares for uptick in bookings
AS traveller quarantine restrictions are lifted for 12 countries, the tourism sector across Portsmouth is preparing for an uptick of sunseekers looking for a long-awaited holiday.
Twelve countries have been put on a ‘green list’ for people in England, meaning anyone returning from these destination will not need to quarantine from May 17.
The new traffic light system of rules means international travel will no longer be illegal, with the green list including Portugal, Gibraltar, Australia, and New Zealand.
According to Southsea-based independent travel agent Zoe Harmer, the announcement has led to a slight uptick in bookings - but the government’s announcement has led to some confusion for residents looking to get away.
The travel expert said: ‘It was rather like the last Line of Duty series – underwhelming.
‘A lot of the (countries) on the list, you still can’t actually go to at the moment, and others – like the Sandwich Islands – are ones that people don’t want to go to at the moment.’
The travel agent said the government should make it clearer that some of the countries – like Australia and New Zealand – still have their borders closed, making travel next to impossible.
Despite the patchy list of tourist destinations, Zoe says trade across the city has been ‘surprisingly good’.
The 48-year old said: ‘The majority of the bookings I have done are for July onwards this year and 2022.
‘A lot of people are booking for Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Malta.
‘But people are still very hesitant.’
The travel agent has warned customers to check their travel and flight insurance policies, as many policies will cover individuals cancelling due to a positive Covid-19 test but not cover plans cancelled due to changing government restrictions.
Some airlines – such as EasyJet and TUI – have ‘fantastic’ flexability with bookings, according to Zoe.
Meanwhile Portsmouth-based Brittany Ferries is ‘expecting’ that France and Spain – destinations for the firm’s routes – will be added to the green list at the first government review in three weeks’ time.
The firm has frozen its prices this summer, hoping to attract people to sail rather than fly to reach their summer holidays.
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.’