Bon Voyage! France will LIFT travel ban on vaccinated travellers from Britain TOMORROW in major boost for ski season – four weeks after Macron closed the borders over Omicron fears
- Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said they will be allowed into France
- The fully jabbed will be allowed in with a negative test 24 hours before leaving
The ski season is back on for snow-deprived Britons as France said it will lift its ban on UK holidaymakers tomorrow.
Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said they will be allowed into the country following an outcry from struggling resorts.
Travellers who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to enter if they have evidence of a negative coronavirus test taken within 24 hours of departure.
The requirement to isolate on arrival will be scrapped.
The move was welcomed by travel experts and firms which have seen a dearth in winter sports customers this season.
Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said they will be allowed into the country following an outcry from struggling resorts (file photo)
Travellers who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to enter if they have evidence of a negative coronavirus test taken within 24 hours of departure. Pictured: Macron yesterday
Mr Baptiste-Lemoyne tweeted on Thursday morning ‘we are relaxing entry conditions’.
The Minister said the new measures would be published in an official decree on Friday, but were ‘immediately effective’.
This is a major boost for cross-Channel transport operators and winter sports travel firms, particularly as it comes ahead of the vital February half-term period.
Brittany Ferries CEO Christophe Mathieu described it as a ‘great relief’ and expressed hope that ‘we have seen the last border closure of the Covid crisis’.
He said: ‘We’ve all suffered enormously over the last two years.
‘Healthcare professionals are exhausted and businesses in the travel sector have struggled to survive.
‘Thousands of Brittany Ferries passengers have been disrupted and millions of pounds in income has been lost as a consequence of draconian measures like border closures.’
Mr Mathieu went on to urge people to ’embrace’ coronavirus vaccines to ‘halt this cycle of pain and frustration’.
Travellers who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to enter if they have evidence of a negative coronavirus test taken within 24 hours of departure (file photo)
There was widespread anger within the travel industry when France imposed travel restrictions in December because of spiralling Covid-19 rates in the UK.
Now, however, the French are themselves reporting new records of infection as the highly contagious Omicron variant sweeps across Europe.
A figure of 368,149 in France over 24 hours on Wednesday trumped a previous record of 332,252 set on January 5.
France’s seven-day moving average of cases was nearly 270,000, according to official figures.
British ministers had also privately accused President Emmanuel Macron of ‘playing politics’ by keeping the border closed, despite devastating economic results.
Travel and tourism accounted for 8.5 per cent of France’s gross domestic product in 2019, but fell to 4.7 per cent in 2020.
The British are normally the biggest foreign visitor group to Paris, and also swarm to the French Alps in the winter.
And the ski industry is now optimistic that the peak February period, which includes school half term holidays, could now be saved.
Skiline is one of many companies that has now put ski trips to France departing this Saturday back on sale.
It even issued a statement on the news earlier this week predicting the borders reopening.
The statement read: ‘We are expecting the French government to make an announcement this Wednesday to confirm that British vaccinated skiers can enter France from Saturday.’
The firm started selling spots on its trips though promised refunds should the borders not be open in time.
Meanwhile some companies accused Emmanuel Macron of punishing the industry over worsening ties with Britain.
Francois Badjily, head of the Alpe d’Huez tourist office, suggested France was playing politics with the pandemic.
He said: ‘We have the impression that our industry is being made to pay the price for the poor relations between both countries right now, whether it’s about Brexit or fishing or whatever.’
Mr Badjily said the rules were incoherent because fully vaccinated tourists from other countries where the Omicron strain is already present are able to visit.
Alpe d’Huez draws a quarter of its visitors from the UK every year, and Mr Badjily added: ‘Why should a Briton who meets these criteria not be allowed to come, but the French and Belgians can?’
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