Travel industry fears passport requirement post Brexit will deter European visitors

The travel industry fears that a passport requirement will deter Europeans who, until now, have been able to travel here using only their ID cards. Credit: ITV Channel and PA Images

Jersey's travel industry is calling on the government to lobby counterparts in the UK, to maintain a more flexible border arrangement for incoming travellers to the Channel Islands once Brexit takes effect next year.The industry fears that a passport requirement will deter Europeans who, until now, have been able to travel here using only their ID cards.Robert McKenzie of the C.I. Travel Group says French and German agents and tour operators are already predicting an impact on their businesses, with some even considering dropping their Channel Island programmes.

Jersey's travel industry fears passport requirement post Brexit will deter European visitors. Credit: ITV Channel TV

He added that it is "Jersey following the UK government" and therefore the island has to align with UK policy.

Of course this isn't just about the Channel Islands, the whole of the UK inbound tourism industry is going to be affected by this so I think we need to join forces with the UK inbound tourism industry to continue to get the message across to the UK government that this is going to have a severe impact on not just the UK tourism industry but the Channel Islands as well.

Robert McKenzie, C.I. Travel Group
Credit: ITV Channel TV

Jersey's Maison de la Normandie have also told ITV News that several of their regular market traders have decided not to return to the tri-annual Norman Market as a result of the passport requirement. Out of the 10 regular traders, half do not have a passport at present. A French passport costs €86.

We communicated to them earlier this year to warn them that they would need a passport if they were going to come over to Jersey again and some of them unfortunately already told us that they would stop coming over because it's an additional cost for them and it's already quite costly to come over to Jersey. So they will stop, for others it won't stop them, but we will have some issues.

Christine Belhomme, Director of Maison de la Normandie et de la Manche

Whilst more and more French people do have a passport these days, many still travel primarily in Europe, where they do not require a passport, says Belhomme.She thinks the change is likely to particularly impact school groups and school trips, as children generally do not have passports. The more spontaneous day trip market is also likely to be affected.  

Condor Ferries has said that a significant proportion of travelers only have ID Cards.

‘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.

Paul Luxon, CEO Condor Ferries

Paul Luxon says they have engaged with Jersey and Guernsey to make the UK aware this is a 'very serious matter'.

However Jersey's Home Affairs Minister, Constable Len Norman, told ITV News Jersey's government is not currently engaged in any conversations on the issue, and that the industry has had plenty of notice. 

The decision was made some 18 months ago, the travel operators and the carriers were notified at that time along with the consuls, the various European countries that have consulates in Jersey, so it's really something the travel industry should have been preparing for.

Constable Len Norman, Jersey's Home Affairs Minister

The UK left the EU on 31 January this year, upon which it entered a transition period. The transition period is due to expire on 31 December 2020.