France Eases Border Restrictions with UK

Exact details have not been revealed but France has eased restrictions on ‘work travel’ to and from the UK with immediate effect. It follows earlier remarks from the French government spokesman. There is no easing of border rules for skiing and tourism. UPDATED

The French Consulate in London has tweeted on Thursday evening that measures will be eased for business and work travel.

They will constitute ‘compelling reasons’ for travel.

The exact details of what constitutes a business trip and professional work reasons for travel have not been revealed, and we will report the details when they are clear.

On Wednesday after a cabinet meeting the French government spokesman, Gabriel Attal, said that the French government had “decided to expand the list of compelling reasons – in particular professional reasons” for travel between France and the UK.

The tweet on Thursday evening confirms this.

There is no mention of tourism and in particular skiing.

It is, though, a move in the right direction for many skiers and snowboarders from the UK who currently cannot enter France.

We understand a date for reopening the border between the UK and France will be discussed at the next defence council meeting on Wednesday 12th January.

France banned virtually all travel to and from the UK ahead of Christmas in an attempt to curb the spread of the Omicron variant.

It had a devastating impact on skiing as we reported direct from the French Alps.

Many UK ski operators cancelled all immediate ski holidays to France  and they will be looking for further detail.

‘The French statement pointed strongly towards further easing next week, which corresponds with what we are hearing from our own contacts on the ground in resorts,” said the MD of Ski Solutions, Craig Burton, to PlanetSKI ahead of the tweet from the French Consulate in London.

“We of course welcome this, and equally hope to see France and our other European neighbours, who moved so quickly to put up barriers to travel in December, move with equal haste to unwind overbearing and redundant entry restrictions now that the science of this Omicron wave is becoming clearer.”

La Masse lift, Les Menuires. Image © Chris Moran/PlanetSKI

Les Menuires. Image © Chris Moran/PlanetSKI

Gabriel Attal added in his briefing on Wednesday that restrictions may be eased even further as early as next week, because the Omicron variant is affecting both countries in a similar way.

France and the UK currently have a similar number of daily cases of Covid-19 and they are among the highest in Europe at around 200,000.

There has been some further reaction to Gabriel Attal’s remarks from the UK snowsports industry.

“We are waiting with bated breath to hear how the French Government will lift restrictions,” said  Duncan Gilroy from Absolutely Snow.

“In the meantime we are offering all our clients who have booked their ski holiday to France to change the their holiday to either Austria if they have had all 3 vaccinations and meet the Austrian Entry requirements or Andorra where flying into Barcelona anyone over 12 has to have had the double vaccination.”

Grandvalira, Andorra. Image c/o Absolutely Snow

Grandvalira, Andorra. Image c/o Absolutely Snow

“If all they do is expand to compelling-reasons list to include “professional reasons” this won’t help the French ski industry or UK holidaymakers at all,” said the MD of the UK ski operator SNO, Richard Sinclair.

“These travel restrictions are beyond ridiculous, when French people have the same percentage chance of having Covid as British people.

“French resorts are furious at being sacrificed so Macron can save face or avoid appearing to backtrack.”

Some PlanetSKI readers have reacted on our Facebook page:

Jimi Hunt – I think for anyone booked end of January into Feb (me) there’s still a glimmer of hope. No emails from flights on cancellation yet and accommodation needs to be paid by 19th Jan…..on the knife edge!
Steve Dickens – Wouldn’t go to France for free ,we should put them on our red list.
Neil Bradbury – Was due to go to La Plagne on Saturday, now changed to Saas Fee in Switzerland. I won’t be back to French ski resorts in a hurry.
Ali Record – Meant to be travelling 9th.I’m guessing the hope to travel now gone 🥲

Freddie Webb – I’ve not long got off the phone and changed my holiday away from France oh well!

Ali Record – Meant to be travelling 9th. I’m guessing the hope to travel now gone.

Here at PlanetSKI we will be updating this story with further details and reaction as we receive it.

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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.

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