France set to reopen its borders to UK tourists 'within days'

12 January 2022, 13:47

A "significant easing of travel restrictions will be announced very soon" Paris has said
A "significant easing of travel restrictions will be announced very soon" Paris has said. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

France is set to reopen its borders to UK tourists within days, a French National Assembly member has confirmed.

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The country introduced a ban on non-essential travel on December 18th in an attempt to slow the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Today Alexandre Holroyd, a French National Assembly member who represents the country's expats living in the UK, said a "significant easing of travel restrictions will be announced very soon".

The rules were partially relaxed last week to allow some business travel, but a significant easing is now expected.

He added that details will be confirmed "in the days to come".

Lifting the tourism ban will mean thousands of people in the UK who have booked ski holidays in France will be able to travel.

This will be a major boost to travel firms, particularly ahead of the vital February half-term period with country being the UK’s most popular winter sports destination.

One travel agent, Ski Line, is selling ski trips from the UK to France departing on Saturday in anticipation of the travel ban being axed.

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The Kent-based firm said: "French holidays could be back on this weekend.

"We are expecting the French government to make an announcement this Wednesday to confirm that British vaccinated skiers can enter France from this Saturday."

It told potential customers they could be "one of the few lucky skiers in France this weekend", adding that they will get a full refund before Friday if no announcement on the travel ban being lifted is made.

People currently allowed to enter France from the UK are required to show evidence of a negative coronavirus test taken within 24 hours before departure.

They must also self-isolate for 48 hours after they arrive and then take another test, but the requirement to self-isolate is expected to be scrapped when the border reopens.

But booster vaccines will be required for holidaymakers hoping to qualify for a pass sanitaire - which permits access to restaurants, museums and ski lifts. 

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Travel firms hit out when the ban was introduced with Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, saying: "Blanket country measures are a damaging backwards step and never work.

"Omicron is already in France and other EU countries. Why should the millions boosted be treated the same way as those unvaccinated, and prevented from entry?"

The UK eased its own travel restrictions last week.

People who are fully vaccinated no longer need to take a coronavirus test before they arrive in the UK, and can take a cheaper and quicker lateral flow test rather than a PCR after they arrive.

The changes save a family of four around £300.