A TOURISM chief has welcomed Brittany Ferries’ decision to increase its sailings from Poole to Cherbourg this winter.

There were no services on the cross-channel Barfleur cruise ferry between October and mid-March last year. But this winter sailings on the popular route will only be suspended from January 6 until February 28.

Services will operate on most days, departing from Poole at 8.30am and sailing back from Cherbourg at 6.30pm.

Brittany Ferries’ spokesman Chris Jones said: “Since we re-introduced Barfleur on the Poole-Cherbourg route back in March, the take-up from both holidaymakers and day trippers has been extremely encouraging.

“We’re particularly happy with the support we have received from the people of Poole and Dorset, who clearly appreciate their direct link with the continent.

“The latest improvements to the road network across the Cotentin peninsula make Cherbourg an even faster gateway to the rest of France, widening the Poole-Cherbourg route’s appeal to a larger catchment area.”

Cherbourg now offers fast flowing road connections to the French motorway network thanks to a newly completed dual carriageway which links the N13 and A84. Mr Jones added: “The success of the route this year means we can now justify keeping it open for 10 months of the year with just a short winter break.”

Welcoming the extended winter timetable, Borough of Poole’s tourism manager Graham Richardson told the Daily Echo: “This is very positive news for Poole and a big boost for the local economy.

“It’s great that sailings to France are going to increase throughout the winter months.”