France set to lift Covid-19 travel ban for UK and Portsmouth holidaymakers
FRANCE is set to lift its Covid-19 travel restrictions for UK holidaymakers – in a boom for sunseekers from Portsmouth.
French tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne announced restrictions will be curtailed from Friday morning.
Travellers who are fully vaccinated can enter France if they take a negative coronavirus test within 24 hours of departure.
All requirements to isolate on arrival will be scrapped.
The news has been welcomed by travel bosses operating from Portsmouth.
Brittany Ferries chief executive Christophe Mathieu described the announcement as a ‘great relief’ and expressed hope that ‘we have seen the last border closure of the Covid crisis’.
He said: ‘We’ve all suffered enormously over the last two years.
‘Healthcare professionals are exhausted and businesses in the travel sector have struggled to survive.
‘Thousands of Brittany Ferries passengers have been disrupted and millions of pounds in income has been lost as a consequence of draconian measures like border closures.’
Mr Mathieu also urged people to ‘embrace’ coronavirus vaccines to ‘halt this cycle of pain and frustration.’
The end of the tourism ban will allow thousands of people in the UK to go on pre-booked ski holidays.
This is considered a major boost for cross-Channel transport operators and winter sports travel firms, as the busy February half-term period is coming up.
Abby Penlington, director at industry body Discover Ferries, welcomed the news as a boost for the travel industry.
She said: ‘France is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Brits and traditionally January is a critical month for travel operators as people start to book summer holidays.
‘While the ferry industry has continued to operate essential services across the Channel while the border remained closed, we’re confident that its reopening will provide a much-needed uplift in bookings.’
France introduced the ban on non-essential travel to and from the UK on December 18.
It was in a bid to slow down the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, but it is now the dominant strain in the country.
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 now take a lateral flow test instead of a PCR.
The changes save a family of four roughly £300.