Entente cordiale at plans to ease travel for French

FERRY operators and tourism groups have welcomed news that visitors from France may be able to travel to the island this summer without needing a passport.

Manche-Iles Express is awaiting details of Guernsey and Jersey’s plans. (Picture courtesy of Jersey Evening Post)
Manche-Iles Express is awaiting details of Guernsey and Jersey’s plans. (Picture courtesy of Jersey Evening Post)

Home Affairs president Deputy Rob Prow has said that it was looking to bring in a scheme to allow French people to use their national identity card.

He said it was likely to be for short stays – a Jersey pilot will be for day-trippers only.

But that is good news for Manche Iles Express, which operates from Dielette to Guernsey and Alderney.

‘In 2019, 80% of our clients were day-trippers,’ said commercial director Olivier Normand.

‘This is a big first step. Now we are awaiting the conditions and guarantees that both states will require.’

A Condor Ferries spokesman echoed these comments.

‘Condor welcomes the news that a potential pilot scheme may be introduced in Guernsey that will allow French day-trippers to travel with only their ID cards,’ he said.

The news that Jersey was to introduce a pilot scheme next month has also been well received by the president of La Manche region, Jean Morin, but he said he was still waiting to hear about Guernsey’s plans.

Guernsey Hospitality Association president Alan Sillett said this was positive news.

‘Any initiatives that try to bring visitors from France to the island are to be welcomed.’

However, he hoped that long-stay visitors from France would be included eventually.

‘2019 was a strong year for visitor numbers from France, including staying visitors, and it would be wonderful to try and find a way to return to those sorts of numbers again.’

Tourism Management Board chairwoman Hannah Beacom also welcomed the development.

‘Anything that makes it easier for people to visit our island is to be welcomed,’ she said.

The industry understood and accepted the changes brought about by Brexit, with the requirement for travellers to have a passport to enter the Bailiwick, and this had clearly had a negative impact on visitors from France.

‘Having reviewed the schedules, there are more than 60 scheduled day trips from France to Guernsey this year, so the proposed scheme would provide a welcome boost for the industry.’

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