Research from industry body Discover Ferries, reveals that more Brits would feel safe from Coronavirus infection travelling by ferry than by aeroplane, train or coach*.
The news has been welcomed by ferry bosses and comes after campaigns to promote the benefits of travelling by water. However, results show there is still more to be done to reassure an anxious public that ferry safe means very safe.
In total, 32% said they would feel safe from Coronavirus infection travelling by ferry. That compares with 24% for planes, 30% for trains and 26% for coaches.
“It is encouraging to see that Brits consider ferry travel to be the safest form of public transport during the pandemic,” said Abby Penlington, director of Discover Ferries. “Ferries naturally lend themselves to social distancing, with spacious passenger areas and access to fresh air on most vessels so perhaps that’s not surprising. What worries us more is the significant proportion who remain unconvinced and may therefore be delaying travel plans as a consequence.”
Operators have been working hard to implement and communicate strict COVID safe measures on board. And there is still more work to be done. However, the survey also shows that factors outside the control of the industry are adding to travellers’ anxiety, the most significant being quarantine restrictions. When considering future holidays abroad, just under three quarters of Brits (74%) say they are concerned about the possibility of having to quarantine when they arrive at their destination and 65% are concerned about the possibility of having to quarantine when they return home**.
This level of anxiety has barely changed since June**, when Discover Ferries commissioned its first Coronavirus public sentiment survey, before lockdown travel restrictions were eased.
“Our sector recognises the balance needed to protect public health and support the UK economy during Coronavirus,” added Penlington. “So, we understand that quarantine can be an important step to prevent its spread. But like others in the travel sector, we believe that the government should adopt a more regional approach to travel sanctions. It should also carefully consider allowing testing to shorten quarantine times, once testing capacity is available. This would bring greater stability to the industry and, in turn, reassure passengers who wish to book an autumn get-away or their 2021 break now.”