Cross-channel ferry services to France are carrying more passengers than last year as Britons head south in search of the al fresco summer lifestyle being denied to them by UK downpours.
Ferries from Dover are regularly more than five per cent busier than in summer 2008, in spite of the recession, as sun seekers pack their cars and head to mainland Europe.
P&O Ferries, the principal Dover-Calais ferry company, reports brisk business over recent days as the UK school holidays have started. Last weekend, the company carried 54,000 passengers and 18,000 cars on the route, an increase on the equivalent weekend last year of more than five per cent for passengers and six per cent for cars.
A spokesman said: “We’ve seen a strong reaction to the poor British summer with more people determined to have their holidays abroad come what may. Things may be tough at home but the British have a strong attachment to the Continental lifestyle and just love hitting the open road in search of the sun instead of dodging the downpours at home.
“In a recession people look for value for money and with fares from £30 each way for a car and passengers, it makes France by ferry extremely affordable compared, say, to flying a family to the Mediterranean. We think those popular destinations on the doorstep of the UK, where the cost of travel to get there is low, prove resilient during an economic downturn.”