France poised for major U-turn on British tourist ban ‘within days’ – skiing holidays BACK

Simon Calder criticises continued French travel ban

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Britons frequently holiday at French ski resorts with their children during the school half-term break in mid-February, with France being the UK’s most popular winter sports destination. Alexandre Holroyd, the French MP responsible for expats living in the UK, has reportedly said the French border with the UK will open “very soon”, according to The Times, with more information expected in the coming days. Senior travel sources said that the decision to reopen could be made “within hours”, according to the newspaper.

On December 18, UK holidaymakers were dealt a massive blow after the French border was closed to them as ministers desperately imposed measures in an attempt to curb the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid.

Last week, restrictions began to ease on the UK from across the Channel when France said people with compelling business trips could enter the country.

Anyone arriving from the UK must produce a negative Covid test at the border and then have to enter a 48-hour quarantine period before taking another test.

But the rule over having to self-isolate is expected to be scrapped soon.

The UK had been left furious by the French measures, with one minister raging they made “absolutely zero sense when you look at the data”.

They also accused President Emmanuel Macron of political point-scoring by keeping the border closed.

Since the start of the pandemic nearly two years ago, ski resorts, like many other travel locations, have suffered terribly financially after seeing visitor numbers plummet.

But now they are optimistic about positive move is in the offing during what is one of their busiest times of the year.

Hundreds of thousands of British skiers flock to the resorts during the February half-term break, and have been known to spend huge amounts of money in mountain bars and restaurants.

Ski operator has put trips to the country departing this Saturday back on sale.

In a statement it said: “We are expecting the French government to make an announcement this Wednesday to confirm that British vaccinated skiers can enter France from Saturday.”

The operator has also vowed to provide immediate refunds anyone that books if the ban on holidays is not lifted in time.

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Ahead of the possibility of restrictions being lifted, airlines and ferry companies are also preparing for a spike in bookings.

Eurotunnel and Eurostar, which run through the channel tunnel, are also preparing to add several more services.

In France, anyone aged between 18 and 64 will need to get a Covid booster if they have been fully vaccinated for more than seven months.

They will need a booster to be eligible for the French Government’s new pass sanitaire, which will have to be used to gain entry to a number of public venues, including bars, restaurants, museums and ski lifts.

Travel rules in the UK have been eased, with ministers eliminating the need for passengers to take a test before travelling to the country.

The need for a PCR test on or before day two has been removed and replaced with a a cheaper lateral flow test

In addition, a requirement to quarantine before receiving a negative result has also been scrapped.

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