Brighton tour operator resumes ski trips to France

A Brighton tour operator was due to resume taking British ski holiday customers to France this weekend.

The move came as the French government lifted its ban on British holidaymakers, provided they are fully vaccinated and have evidence of a negative coronavirus test taken within 24 hours of departure.

The requirement to isolate on arrival will be scrapped.

Ski Beat, which is based in Bond Street, Brighton, planned to restart trips yesterday Saturday (15 January).

Sales and marketing director Laura Hazell said that the firm had “lots of relieved and happy customers” who had been awaiting news.

The company’s phones were “ringing off the hook”, she said, and it had seen an “immediate surge in internet bookings”.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that his French counterpart, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, told him the decision to ease restrictions was because of “the UK’s falling infection rate”.

Britons who are not fully vaccinated will continue to need a “compelling reason” to enter France.

Lifting the tourism ban will mean that thousands of people from Britain who have booked ski holidays in France will be able to travel, providing a boost for cross-Channel transport operators and winter sports travel firms.

France introduced the ban on non-essential travel to and from Britain on Saturday 18 December to try to slow the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant.

Julia Simpson, who runs the World Travel and Tourism Council, said that closing borders once a variant was endemic was “pointless” and “only damages livelihoods”.

Britain eased its own travel restrictions last week. Those who are fully vaccinated no longer have to take a covid test before they arrive in the country and can take a cheaper and quicker lateral flow test rather than a PCR test after they arrive. The changes save a family of four around £300.

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