Ski resorts hail the return of the British

The executive relaxed entry requirements for travelers from the United Kingdom. The sector appreciates this decision in the middle of the tourist season.

For the ski resort, bearing the full brunt of the wave created by the Omicron version and related disturbances, it is breath taking. British tourists will once again be able to hit the slopes. From Friday, “vaccinated people from the United Kingdom will no longer have to produce a compelling reason” to come to France, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, France’s Minister of Tourism and SMEs, announced on TV5 Monde on Thursday morning.

Due to the outbreak of the pandemic in the country, health control measures have been eased at the limits set in December for vaccinated travelers from the United Kingdom: restricting leisure travel as a 48-hour isolation period is “compelling”. Reason” disappears. Only a negative test (PCR or antigen test) of less than 24 hours is required to arrive in France.

The British spent 1 billion euros on the mountains

“This is great news for all the major alpine resorts such as Val d’Iseur, Val Thorens, La Plagne, Les Arcs”, responds Didier Arino, director of the French specialist firm Protourism for AFP, “almost for a French mountain Billion Euro “The economic fallout from the British in the winter.

“The news spread like wildfire to the resort. For us, it’s a great relief, it’s a great pleasure,” said AFP François Badzilli, director of the tourism office of Alpe d’Huez.

In the station, “one in two customers are foreigners and half are foreigners British, or a quarter of our customers. But this represents a lot in terms of turnover: their average basket is higher than that of our fellow citizens”, they specify.

After an excellent Christmas break, over the next ten days “the arrival of Belgians, Dutch and Danes who were still on holiday slightly dampened the shock of the British’s absence”, according to Mr. Badgilli.

Reservations not always canceled, but only suspended

If they represent 15% of the ski resort’s customers, as recalled by Mr. Lemoyne, this is sometimes much higher at the local level: it accounts for 42% of the Val d’Isre, and two in Savoie. The British represent, according to Protourisme, four foreign customers in ten and about 36% stay overnight.

“Some hotels have dropped from 90% to 20% at Christmas,” Mr. Arino says. Many customers did not cancel leaving their reservations on hold, which would “make up for some” of lost activity.

Currently, French ski resorts show a decline in overall reservations of 8% compared to 2019, further specifying the expert firm, but the situation is the opposite, amid a 14% drop in the Alps and a 12% jump in the Pyrenees.

On the British side, Chris Logan, managing director of specialist travel agency Crystal Ski, “saw a number of reservations in France that doubled on Wednesday”. The Eurostar company has said it is “ready to welcome more passengers” on its trains, with a gradually increasing frequency of service “in the coming weeks, to provide more flexibility and options”.

Non-vaccinated Britons are charged with a “compelling reason” to come to France.

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