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Patrick Thorne

13 Jan 22

Tour Ops Reports Phones “Ringing off the Hook” As France Lifts Ban on Travel From UK

Patrick Thorne

13 Jan 22

Tour operators are reporting busy phones and an Internet surge following the French government announcement this morning that tourists including British skiers and boarders can travel there again from Friday 14th January.

“Our phones are ringing off the hook with those who have so far been unable to travel to the French Alps this season and really want to secure a holiday. We also have lots of relieved and happy customers calling who are delighted that their holidays can now go ahead. We have also seen an immediate surge in internet bookings,” said Laura Hazell, tour operator Ski Beat Sales & Marketing Director.

The company’s first weekly flight to their catered chalets in the Alps since the ban departs this Saturday, 15th January, nearly four weeks after France initiated measures to slow the spread of the Omnicron Covid variant.

“Snow conditions in the French Alps are amazing right now and there is still availability even for school holiday dates so it’s not too late for British skiers to get out there this season and enjoy a well deserved ski holiday,” said Xavier Schouller, boss of specialist French ski holiday companies Peak Retreats and Ski Collection.

France has said Brits who are fully vaccinated and who have tested negative for the virus 24 hours before travel can enter the country again from Friday.

Joe Ponte, CEO of one of the UK’s largest tour operators, Inghams, said “We are absolutely delighted to now be preparing for both our Inghams and Esprit ski holidays to France to recommence from Saturday 22 January 2022. With France being our key Esprit family holiday destination and normally accounting for around a third of Inghams’ winter programme—the French government’s latest update means, finally, the many skiers and snowboarders hoping to enjoy the French slopes with us this winter will be able to do so.

“While we are of course continuing to monitor the situation closely, we’re thrilled for all those now able to look forward to their French ski holiday again and our in-resort teams are excited to welcome guests back to France.”

Another travel agency IGLU said they are experiencing a huge increase in bookings to France with site visits up 400% on Thursday compared to Wednesday, noting that it’s actually easier to travel to France than it was before they introduced their travel ban last month, as the British nations have dropped their pre-departure test required upon return to the UK in the meantime. The company has discounted packages on sale from this weekend onwards.

Any changes to the rules are yet to be detailed by the French Government but should be available here from Friday 14th, January.

It’s believed the requirement for teenagers to be double vaccinated, as adults, will remain, although more now are than at the start of winter, especially with the UK government’s push to get more people of all ages double or triple vaccinated.

It’s also possible for unvaccinated Brits to visit again, but they face a 10 day quarantine and, without the special pass available to vaccinated people, can no longer do most things normally possible like visiting a restaurant.

The decision comes ahead of the busy ‘February Half Term’ period next month and many companies are now pushing March and Easter ski deals too.