If experts are to be believed then tourists planning to visit France over the next week may be in for a nasty surprise. Access from the UK to Calais has been severely restricted thanks to the actions of striking French ferry workers. Concerns over job cuts have this week boiled over largely bringing the port to a standstill.
There have been a number of effects caused by this industrial action which are likely to cause chaos, especially for the many tourists planning to travel between France and the UK.
Firstly the port of Calais has been officially closed. As a result no ships are able to enter or leave. While this is of course affecting commercial shipping it also means that ferries have been cancelled. Services by MyFerryLink, DFDS and P&O are all being affected. P&O has publicly cancelled all services to and from Calais for some time.
However the lack of ferries has hardly been the only impact that striking French workers have caused. In addition on Tuesday 30th of June a contingent of strikers made their way into the Channel Tunnel and started a fire, causing yet further complications.
As a result of the fire the tunnel was closed, meaning that Eurostar was unable to make its way under the Channel.
The result of this action has stranded both travellers and commercial freight on both sides of the English Channel with trucks backed up for miles. Long suffering lorry drivers are crossing their fingers that this action will soon end, and they can finally continue on their journey.
Sadly quite when this travel trouble will end is unclear. This is the second week of strikes so it seems likely that unless concessions are made to the ferry workers further strikes may occur. 2015 may go down as the year in which Paris fell from the mantle of the most visited destination in the world.
To make matters even worse a two-day strike of air traffic controllers in France is also expected later on this week. This means that even flights to and from France may be cancelled in the near future. Essentially international travel to or from France is likely to be significantly impacted for the foreseeable future, with delays or cancellations ever more commonplace.
Travellers affected are encouraged to contact their travel supplier in order to assess the extent of the situation, and what can be done to get them to their destination. The situation also underlines the importance of travel insurance so that travellers do not find themselves out of pocket if they are forced to book an unscheduled hotel or alternative mode of transportation.
The timing is particularly unfortunate due to the ever-nearing British school holidays where numerous families will plan to visit the continent for a few weeks of summer sun.