Flights, trains, holiday firms gear up for increased UK-France travel
People travelling from the UK will once again be able to visit second homes and family in France from tomorrow. Ski holidays are also back on
UK-France travel firms have welcomed the French government’s relaxation of restrictions Pic: muratart / Shutterstock
[Article updated on January 14 at 11:30]
UK-France travel operators have welcomed France's decision to end its ban on tourists and second-home owners visiting from the UK and say they are preparing for a significant boost in passenger numbers.
French Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne announced on Twitter this morning that from tomorrow (January 14), fully vaccinated people travelling from the UK to France would no longer need an essential reason and would no longer have to quarantine on arrival.
They will still, however, be required to present the negative result of a Covid test [PCR or lateral flow] taken in the 24 hours before their journey begins.
It should also be noted that from Saturday all adults, residents and visitors, will need to have had a booster Covid jab to be considered 'fully vaccinated' under French health pass rules for leisure and travel within France, if their second jab was more than seven months ago (the NHS Covid App is acceptable in France for 'health pass' purposes). Boosters are not however a requirement for entry to the country, though this could change later in the year.
The rule relaxation means that tourism and family visits are back on the cards for UK travellers, who will now be able to go on skiing and other winter holidays during February half-term (which generally falls in the week of February 14-18)
A spokesperson for Eurostar said: “We welcome the safe reduction of travel restrictions which will allow our customers to travel more freely between the UK and France.
“We are ready to welcome more passengers on board and will continue to increase the frequency of our services in the coming weeks to offer passengers more flexibility and choice.”
An EasyJet spokesperson said: “This is welcome news for UK consumers, particularly for those looking to book a last minute half term break or planning to head to the slopes, with low fares still available across thousands of flights to France this winter, including over half term.”
Chris Parker, Director of Capacity and Passenger Performance at DFDS Ferries said: “DFDS welcomes the news that from tomorrow France will be lifting what has effectively been a ban on travellers from the UK.
“With international travel opening up again we expect to see a further increase in demand for ferry travel to Europe and we are already seeing more interest in bookings for 2022.
“As passenger demand returns, DFDS is also calling for a review of the travel documents that passengers have to provide at check-in.
“It will not be possible or practical for operators to undertake the current level of checks with increasing numbers of passengers.
“Without change this will create delays and queues at the UK’s borders. The next governmental review is due at the end of January and we hope to see a significant reduction in the requirements at that time.”
Christophe Mathieu, Brittany Ferries’ CEO said: “This news comes as a great relief and I can only hope that we have seen the last border closure of the Covid crisis.
“We’ve all suffered enormously over the last two years. Health care 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.
“Science has now delivered the means by which we can halt this cycle of pain and frustration. It’s up to all of us to embrace it.”
A spokesperson for UK travel association ABTA also stated that: “France is an incredibly important destination for many ABTA members and the decision to ban UK holidaymakers had a devastating impact particularly on those selling snow and winter sports packages, city breaks and educational trips.
“Lifting of restrictions will be very welcome as many thousands of UK holidaymakers will be keen to travel to France over the coming weeks and months.”
A Eurotunnel spokesperson also celebrated the announcement, stating: "This is very positive and will be welcomed by many people who were not able to travel over the Christmas period due to the restrictions. We have already seen hits on our bookings pages increase dramatically with people looking to travel this weekend and for the UK half term in February.
"We will be delighted to welcome customers back to our services as soon as they can travel."