The Euro 2016 football tournament has helped drive a surge in advance bookings for travel across the English Channel this summer, according to P&O Ferries.

Britain’s leading ferry operator has so far taken 45,000 advance bookings for travel to France during the tournament, which will run from 10 June to 10 July. This figure represents a 22 per cent increase on the same 31 days in 2015 and is the highest for the period since 2003.

Janette Bell, Chief Commercial Officer at P&O Ferries, said: “France is by far the most popular holiday destination in the world and during Euro 2016 an increasing number of British tourists will be discovering the advantages of getting there via a P&O ferry.”

“It’s important to note that it’s not only football supporters driving our advance bookings. Many of those travelling to France will be going simply to enjoy the carnival atmosphere which often accompanies major sporting events.

“We are seeing particularly strong interest around the game on 16 June between England and Wales in Lens, which is just a one hour drive down the motorway from the port of Calais. And the match on 21st June between Northern Ireland and Germany in Paris is also attracting a lot of advance ferry bookings, given that you can drive to the Parc des Princes in three hours after getting off one of our ships.

“We are the only ferry company in Europe which has routes across both the English Channel and the Irish Sea. Given that this is the first major tournament which both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have qualified for in many years, we have also seen a large number of bookings from football fans on both sides of the border who want to drive to France to support their team.”

Last August was the single busiest month which P&O Ferries has experienced on the English Channel since 2003, with 1.17 million passengers travelling on its ships. The company attributed the record number to its investment in two new ferries, Spirit of Britain and Spirit of France, both capable of carrying 2,000 passengers while offering a first class dining, leisure and retail experience.

P&O Ferries is a leading pan-European ferry operator, sailing on eight major routes between Britain, France, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Holland and Belgium. The company operates 20 vessels which carry more than 10 million passengers, 1.6 million cars and two million freight units every year.


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