Ferry firm urges people to not dash all plans of a summer holiday in 2021

A FERRY firm is urging people not to dash all plans of a foreign summer break this year, after the transport secretary urged people to scrap any bookings.

Wednesday, 10th February 2021, 9:48 pm
MV Cap Finistère operated by Brittany Ferries between Portsmouth - Santander & Bilbao

Brittany Ferries, which operates services from Portsmouth, said that while it recognises the challenges government faces in controlling the virus, it believed the comments of transport secretary Grant Shapps on Radio 4 on Wednesday were disproportionate.

Mr Shapps advised listeners against booking a summer holiday – saying that it was ‘too early’ and that ‘the best advice to people is: do nothing at this stage.’

For many listeners the comments may have discouraged any plans for a holiday abroad this summer.

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Salamanca, the newest ship in Brittany Ferries' fleet takes to the water for the...

Brittany Ferries spokesman Nigel Wonnacott said that people should be reassured by the vaccination programme.

He said: ‘Vaccine roll-out is moving apace in the UK, thanks to the NHS, volunteers and support of the armed forces.

‘And while countries which Brittany Ferries serves like France are a little behind, the ramp-up is gaining significant momentum there too.

‘French 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 French adult population should be vaccinated well ahead of the summer holiday season. In the UK meanwhile, all over-50s are due to receive the vaccine by the end of May.

‘These are of course projections.

‘Brittany Ferries acknowledges the Covid crisis is fluid, and circumstances may change. But, as of today, the vaccine roll-out programme should be an opportunity to present hope and optimism for a brighter summer ahead.

‘Furthermore, companies like Brittany Ferries offer flexible booking options with the promise of options like refunds and easy schedule changes if government advice were to change.

‘So dissuading everyone from booking a summer holiday abroad in mid-February seems unnecessary and over-cautious.’

He said the firm’s views echoed those of the wider travel industry, and that it calls on the government for a clear strategy for a pragmatic, co-ordinated exit from strict travel controls and a pathway towards safe travel this summer.

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