Portsmouth’s travel sector has ‘passed’ due to the government’s travel list update including Brittany Ferry and Southampton Airport’s warning about ‘complicated’ hours ahead
The update to the Government’s traffic light list for international travel sees Portugal move to the amber list – meaning those returning from the country will have to be tested and quarantined at home for up to 10 days.
Seven countries – including Sri Lanka and Egypt – have also been added to the red list, requiring quarantine returns at a specified hotel.
All changes to the listings will take effect at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, June 8th.
Swanwick Lake: Boy, two, died in hospital days after he was found unresponsive i …
The announcement led to ‘a collective sigh of frustration and resignation on both sides of the channel for customers and staff of Brittany Ferry, which operates services from Portsmouth to the ports of France and Spain.
Speaking to The news, a spokesman from the ferry firm said: ‘We are disappointed that Spain was not added to the green list. All of this data points to a safe country, with a fast roll vaccination rate and low infection rate.
Brittany Ferry remains hopeful that Spain and France will be added to the green list in the next review within three weeks – but the company will face ‘tricky’ decisions if nothing changes.
The spokesperson said: ‘The company will last until 2022 – but it could look very different Brittany Ferry.
‘Last season was ruined. The truth is we need good summer weather.
‘If we don’t get summer time this year, things will be difficult for us, and we may have to make very difficult decisions.’
The company has taken out more than £ 100 million in emergency loans from French banks and the government to boost its business, with crossings cut by more than 30 per cent due to declining passenger numbers.
The update is a ‘kick to the teeth’ for the travel industry, according to independent travel agent Zoe Harmer, who is based in Southsea.
He said: ‘The whole industry feels reduced. We seem to have forgotten.
‘It would be a kick to the teeth if no countries were added to the green list. Places like Menorca and Malta have very low prices. Some of the islands of Spain, prices are very low.
‘They seem to have decided they don’t want anyone to go abroad and they want everyone to have a precaution.
‘It seems crazy that so many countries haven’t been added to the green list.’
International visitors contribute more than £ 40m to the city’s economy each year, with more than 130,000 foreign tourists staying in the city before the Covid-19 pandemic.
A spokesman for AGS Airport Ltd, which owns Southampton Airport, said: ‘We strongly appreciate that public health should always come first, however, it is frustrating for our passengers that no additional countries will participate in the small number of destinations included in the green list follows this initial review.
‘Within two weeks of safe restart since Portugal is now an amber list and passengers who have flown there recently, or since, will now need to quarantine at home for 10 days in top test costs required to travel
‘The red, amber and green list system is designed to address last year’s confusion where a country was deemed safe for unimportant travel and then returned to the quarantine list within a few days.
‘The continuing uncertainty associated with international travel will not only seriously damage passenger confidence, which is extremely fragile, it will also put down the aviation industry and the hundreds of thousands of jobs associated with it.
‘People will choose not to fly because of the uncertainty involved and airlines will find it impossible to operate in unpredictable conditions.’
In 2019 Southampton Airport will have three departures a week from Faro in Portugal on Flybe (April-September) carrying 15,000 passengers a year.
So far this year, in comparison, to 2019, passengers are 96.5 per cent down – even though the Flybe crash has already affected passenger numbers in Southampton.