Will More Ski Nations Introduce Travel Bans on UK Skiers?

Austria introduces new entry rules for UK visitors as Switzerland continues to welcome British skiers. France & Germany have imposed travel restrictions & worries continue for further travel rules to the ski nations. We have indications that further border controls are coming. UPDATED

The latest travel restrictions on UK skiers and other tourists was introduced by Germany on Sunday.

Germany has a handful of ski resorts in its Bavarian the Alps with the most famous being Garmish Partenkirchen near the Zugspitz mountain.

Those ski resorts are now effectively out-of-bounds to UK skiers and snowboarders with tighter  restrictions.

German nationals and residents will be allowed to enter the country with a negative test and a 2-week quarantine period, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.

The new rules came into force on Sunday evening.

France and Germany are also on Germany’s ‘high risk’ list with travel restrictions.

The German health minister Karl Lauterbach said he expected the Omicron variant to unleash a “massive fifth wave” of the pandemic.

He said Germany had to prepare for a challenge “that we have never seen in this form before”.

Zugspitz mountain. Image © PlanetSKI

Zugspitz mountain. Image © PlanetSKI

Skiers and snowboarders from the UK have already been banned from taking a holiday in France.

“International travel remains unpredictable and other countries could still decide to take measures at short notice, such as Germany’s decision to ban UK tourists,” said the Which? Travel Editor, Rory Boland.

The eyes of skiers and snowboarders in the UK are now on what the other ski nations may do in coming days and what impact it may have on Xmas trips to the mountains, and those planned for the New Year.

In Switzerland resorts remain open for foreign visitors as long as they respect the rules said the Health Minister, Alain Berset.

“The government’s goal is to keep as much as possible functioning, of course under different conditions as if there were no pandemic,” he said to jounalists when asked about the French ban on UK British tourists.

“We hope we are launching a system that lets people who can show immunity enter Switzerland and go on holiday,” he said.

Austria tightened its entry regulations on Monday to curb the Omicron variant.

Those who have been vaccinated or have recovered must additionally be able to prove a current PCR test or booster vaccination in order to avoid quarantine.

Home quarantine is only terminated when a PCR test has been taken after entry and a negative result has been confirmed.

In this case, registration through a pre-travel clearance is also mandatory.

There are indictions that further travel rules are coming and we expect an anouncement this week, possibly on Friday.

For Italy people can travel from the UK without needing to self-isolate if they can demonstrate that they are full vaccinated.

In addition:

  • you must fill in the passenger locator form (EU PLF) before you enter Italy to get a QR code to show to your travel provider and Border Police. You can ask for paper form if you do not have an electronic device
  • you must show evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours before entering Italy OR a negative antigen test taken within 24 hours before entering Italy.
  • other regional requirements may apply
Turin airport

Turin airport. Image © PlanetSKI

The World Health Organisation has warned of a bleak future.

A surge of Omicron cases will push European health systems towards the brink, the World Health Organization’s top official in the continent has warned.

Hans Kluge said “another storm” was coming and governments should brace for significant increases in cases.

This will have a significant impact on the prospects of skiing.

“We can see another storm coming. Within weeks, Omicron will dominate in more countries of the region, pushing already stretched health systems further to the brink,” said Mr Kluge, quoted by Reuters, and reported on the BBC.

“The sheer volume of new Covid-19 infections could lead to more hospitalisations and widespread disruption to health systems and other critical services.

“Governments and authorities need to prepare our response systems for a significant surge.”

On Saturday 17th December the UK registered 90,418 daily cases of covid-19.

On Sunday 18th December it had 760 confirmed cases per 100, 000 people over a 7-day period.

Germany had 348.

Of the alpine nations Switzerland was on 557, Austria 246 and Italy 262.

In the Pyrenees Andorra was 1,437 with Spain on 263.

In Scandinavia it is rising in Norway, that reports 629 cases.

Sweden has 210 and Finland 222.

Some believe once the virus starts spreading in the community then travel bans are largely ineffectual.

Others argue that they have an impact and buy valuable time for vaccinations and booster jabs.

The economic impact is clearer with mountain communities hard hit.

The BBC has been looking at the impact on the ban on British tourists in Chamonix, France.

Here at PlanetSKI we have our own full and detailed analysis of the situation direct from the French Alps from our reporter, Tashie Cove:

We will be keeping our eyes on what the ski nations may or may not do in the coming days as the Omicron variant continues to spread.

Tashie Cove, Les Menuires. Image © PlanetSKI

Tashie Cove, Les Menuires. Image © PlanetSKI

We do our very best at PlanetSKI to ensure the information provided here is as complete and up-to-date as possible. However, please be aware that we assume no liability in this respect. Information provided by PlanetSKI should be checked with the official information provided by the authorities. The situation regarding travel warnings and local rules changes quickly.

Image © PlanetSKI