Ski industry devastated by new UK-France tourism ban


France’s new travel restrictions for British tourists will have a “devastating effect” on the ski industry this winter, said two people working in the industry. The connection.

From Saturday, British tourists will be banned from entering France. Only people with a primary reason to visit can enter due to concerns about Covid.

Read more: New UK-France restrictions: no sightseeing tours and quarantine announced

This will cause a major disruption to the ski industry in France and to companies that work with the UK market.

We are talking to two people whose businesses are impacted.

Read more: Masks, ski passes: which Covid rules apply for this ski season in France?

Daniel Elkan, ski journalist and founder of Snowcarbon, a website that helps skiers find train routes to ski resorts and organize ski vacations

Daniel Elkan, Founder of Snowcarbon, a website that helps skiers find train routes to ski resorts Photo: Sent by interviewee

“This is going to be devastating for the ski industry. So many hours spent planning a vacation that can’t happen, then hours processing refunds.

“For Snowcarbon, there won’t be as much paperwork as we help people choose where to ski, where to stay and how to get there, but we don’t do the actual reservations.

“But for the partners we work with, tour operators, hotels and travel agencies, as well as the rest of the ski industry, I can’t imagine how difficult things will be as this is the third ski season in trotting which is part of it. canceled due to pandemic.

“It’s particularly difficult when the ban only comes 48 hours before Christmas ski week.

“France represents around 32% of the UK ski market. There is a wonderful range of skiing out there, and a real diversity of ski vacation providers, from large tour operators to small, husband and wife cabin companies.

“Everyone’s livelihood will of course be affected.

“This year is a little different from last year where there was more or less a blanket ban. In a way, it is hope that is killing you.

“The ski industry does so much work helping people plan their vacations. To do all this work to get it canceled is heartbreaking and it is really difficult for many operators and people in the industry.

“In recent days, Emmanuel Macron has said that the British government is not trustworthy because our politicians do not keep their word. I don’t know if this influences the restrictions on travel from the UK, but it certainly couldn’t help our cause in terms of access to travel in Europe.

“I think train travel was seen as a pretty safe way to get to the Alps, avoiding having to be crammed into airport queues and cramped flights. But I guess the factor behind the ban was the country of origin, not the way people travel. “

Manager of an independent tour operator in La Plagne (who wished to remain anonymous)

“It’s a nightmare. Deep in our minds we knew it could happen, but it happened sooner than we thought.

“We are calling our customers now to see what the situation is. Some of them rush to the border to try to get through before they close.

“Every UK business and every business that works with UK businesses is going to be affected by this.

“The problem is, we don’t know how long this is going to last.

“Some people had planned to come for Christmas, and now they are sitting at home with no trees, no Christmas, nothing.

“It’s a massive industry and the ripple effect is huge.

“Just a simple example. We have ordered Christmas trees for all the cabins and they are expected to arrive today. So I’m going to have to call and say don’t bother bringing them.

“The difference between this year and last year is that the ski lifts are open. We don’t know for how long, but they’re still open.

“Last year they were closed, so those who were able to get help from the French government obviously got it, which is why we are all still here. This year, if the lifts are open and we don’t have guests, we likely won’t get any help from the government.

“It was easier last year. We had no staff, we just targeted the French market with our cottages.

“With the staff this year, we will probably have to fire them, not knowing if in a month we will be able to reopen. But by then, the staff will have other jobs. We cannot afford to pay staff without having clients.

“The UK is a very buoyant market and people love to ski. It was going to be a fairly reasonable season. We had a last minute reservation even yesterday.

“Now it’s all up in the air.”

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