THE first French tourists to enter Jersey under a new post-Brexit ID card scheme are due to arrive in the Island on Saturday.
A delegation from the Conseil Départemental de la Manche – the regional authority which supports the Manche Iles Express ferry service – is also due to meet government representatives in Jersey and celebrate the company’s first crossing of the year.
Tomorrow marks the beginning of a pilot scheme announced by Home Affairs Minister Helen Miles in March, allowing French nationals visiting for a day trip – on commercial passenger ferries – to enter the Island using their national ID cards over the summer.
The change comes after the reintroduction of passport requirements – following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU – caused the number of visitors from France to drop significantly, as only about 50% of the country’s population has a passport.
Before Brexit, visitors could enter the Island if they presented a carte d’identité.
The breakthrough pilot scheme – enabling French nationals to use their identity card on a day return trip to Jersey between 22 April and 30 September – was the product of lengthy conversations between the Home Affairs Department and UK government officials.
External Relations Minister Philip Ozouf has previously stressed the importance of the scheme to the French in terms of aiding ‘sustainability of their sea routes’, including that operated by Manche Iles Express.
A statement issued by the Maison de la Normandie et de la Manche – the region’s representative office in Jersey – said: ‘Manche Iles Express is very happy to restart its services for the 2023 season and hopes that French visitors will make the most of the pilot scheme and take this opportunity to visit Jersey.’