Brexit concerns have led to a drop in the number of animals taken on holiday this year, a ferry company has claimed.
Brittany Ferries said it will have carried about 88,100 cats and dogs in 2019 by the end of the year – a drop of 8% on the previous 12 months.
That is despite the firm investing in more pet-friendly cabins for its 13-ship fleet which operates across the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay.
The company believes thousands of people were put off travelling by fears over the impact of a no-deal Brexit on pet vaccinations, additional arrival checks at overseas ports, and the validity of pet passports.
It hopes that reassurance about the Brexit deal and the transition period lasting throughout the year will reassure those travelling over the next 12 months.
Speaking to the PA News agency Brittany Ferries chief executive Christophe Mathieu said: “Throughout 2019 we did our best to offer reassurance, but many people were confused and concerned so chose to stay at home rather than take to the seas.
“However, turbulent waters have calmed for the next 12 months at least. Nothing should change during the Brexit transition year. That means you can book a 2020 trip with confidence, whether you own a pet or not.”
Brittany Ferries also suffered a 7% downturn in passenger numbers year-on-year between July and September, with the worst hit routes being those linking Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth with destinations in France.
The company is confident demand will recover and is urging customers to book early for the best deals in 2020.
In 2018 a total of 96,062 cats and dogs were carried by the ferry firm compared to an estimate of 88,100 in 2019.