British cross-channel ferry journeys are on the rise ahead of March 29, according to a ferry comparison and ticketing firm.
Short ferry journeys are already up 7.4 per cent year-on-year for bookings between January 1 and March 29, says Direct Ferries, which sells tickets on all cross-channel ferry routes and operators.
A predicted 100,000 day or weekend trips from the UK to France will take place between now and March 29, the day the UK is scheduled to leave the EU.
Sean Cornwell, chief executive of Direct Ferries, said: “In the decades since Britain joined the EU we’ve come to expect more choice on supermarket shelves. A day or weekend trip to the Hypermarché will, for many, be a way of making sure that cupboards and cellars are full of European delicacies and staples.
“If no deal happens, tariff-free French food has a very clear ‘cruise-by date’ of March 29.”
Annually, British residents make around eight million visits to France, according to the Office for National Statistics latest Travel Trends report. It was second most-visited country after Spain.
Among British ferry customers, 68 per cent planned to make a trip to France before March 29, according to poll of 2,000 people on Direct Ferries’ database.
More than three quarters of those polled said they would be bringing back French food and wine. Half said they would be bringing back more than usual due to Brexit uncertainty.
The top 10 items on their shopping list for France include wine and beer, camembert, dijon mustard, coffee and store cupboard staples such as tinned vegetables and herbs and spices.
There is no limit on the amount of alcohol or tobacco that UK residents can transport into the country from the EU, according to current EU regulation, provided it has been bought legally for personal use or as a gift and duty and tax has been paid in the country where they were bought.