France to lift ban on British tourists from Friday

France is finally lifting its ban on UK holidaymakers, the country’s tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has announced.

The requirement to isolate upon arrival will also be scrapped, under changes coming into force from tomorrow morning.

Travellers will continue to need evidence of a negative coronavirus test taken within 24 hours of departure.

France tightened its rules last month as cases of the Omicron Covid variant surged in the UK.

It said travellers would need a ‘compelling reason’ to visit the country, which didn’t include tourism.

At the time a British Government spokesperson said ‘further border controls seem as unnecessary as they are unwelcome’.

Many questioned if the move would make much a difference, considering Omicron was already ripping through France as well by this point.

On December 30, France said it was suspending one of the rules so that British nationals could pass through the country by road and rail to reach their homes in other EU countries.

Restrictions were eased again in January to allow Brits in ‘for the pursuit of an economic activity requiring an on-site presence which cannot be postponed’.

After a weekly cabinet meeting yesterday, the French government’s official spokesman Gabriel Attal said rules would be eased within the next few days.

At the time the ban was introduced, he said: ‘If we continued to see the same situation, that is the Omicron variant becoming dominant in France, of course we would continue to ease the restrictions.’

Confirming the change this morning, Lemoyne tweeted: ‘We are relaxing the entry conditions to France from the UK for vaccinated travellers.

‘End of compelling reasons and isolation on arrival a negative test < 24h will be requested at the start.

‘The decree will be published tomorrow morning, with immediate entry into force.’

UK Travel Secretary Grant Shapps tweeted this morning: ‘I’ve just spoken to my opposite number @Djebbari_JB who confirms that, given the UK’s falling infection rate, France will be lifting their ban on British tourists. A negative Covid test will still be required.’

Holidaymakers travelling to France should bear in mind that local vaccine passport rules are changing from Saturday.

People will need proof of full vaccination to legally access transport services, public spaces, bars and restaurants.

A negative Covid-19 test result will no longer be enough and everyone over the age of 18 will need a booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated.

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