Jersey’s tourism heads have raised fears that a hard Brexit will lead to a devastating drop in visitors from Europe – because they’ll only be able to travel if they spend €85 on a passport.
At present, European travellers are able to come to Jersey using only an EU ID card.
The ID card is a particularly popular form of ID among daytrippers from Saint Malo, accounting for as many as two in every five of Condor’s continental passengers.
But, once the UK leaves the EU in January 2021, the cards will no longer be valid for travel and only those holding a passport – which costs around €85 to obtain – will be able to visit Jersey.
It’s feared that certain visitors may be reluctant to spend on a new passport, and that the impending ID invalidation could “wipe out” the daytrip market and “impact not only the tourism industry but the retail also.”
Pictured: After Brexit, European travellers won't be able to use their ID cards to visit Jersey.
Such concerns were expressed at a recent meeting of the Tourism Steering Group - a collective of industry bosses working together to overcome the challenges of covid.
They’ve now created a new working group aiming to resolve this impending potential crisis.
The group is being led by Condor CEO Paul Luxon, who commented: “We estimate that 30% to 40% of our continental passengers only possess ID cards and discovered last year that a hard Brexit could means everyone arriving will need a passport as an ID card is not considered a valid travel document. It is unlikely every visitor will want to spend €85 on a passport just to come to Jersey or Guernsey so the impact in terms of falling tourism numbers may be felt across the Islands and the UK too.
“We have been engaging with the States in both islands and making representations at UK government level as this is a very serious matter and certainly not the news we would want after such a difficult and challenging 2020.”
Pictured: Condor CEO Paul Luxon is leading the working group.
The ID issue comes at a point on the horizon when the industry will be aiming to recover from the costly effect of the pandemic on business.
Since the early stages of the pandemic, many tourism businesses have made use of the Government’s co-funded payroll scheme.
Covering 80% of an employee’s salary up to the value of £1,600, it was considered a vital lifeline at a time when revenues had been significantly impacted by the cessation of commercial travel.
However, that scheme is now gradually being phased out until March 2021.
At a recent press conference, the Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondré, said a number of targeted long-term economic measures to are currently under consideration by the Council of Ministers, but declined to provide details of these.
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