Quarantine threatens vacation for British tourists

Quarantine threatens vacation for British tourists
Quarantine threatens vacation for British tourists

Boris Johnson would he have taken France in flu? On Wednesday, July 28, the Prime Minister’s Office eased entry requirements to England for vaccinated travelers arriving from the United States, the European Union, and several other countries, such as Norway, Iceland and Swiss. For nationals of these countries who have received their two doses, it will no longer be necessary to submit to a mandatory ten-day quarantine upon their arrival on British territory from next Monday. A measure which the government specifically wanted to exclude France which remains a country at risk, according to the British authorities, due to the circulation of the Beta variant in the overseas departments.

In London, Paul Charles heads the travel consultancy firm PC Agency, which encourages the British government to lift quarantine measures for travel abroad. A former BBC reporter, he launched a campaign, “Quash Quarantine”, supported by more than 500 travel agencies nationwide. For him, the maintenance of the mandatory quarantine could penalize an entire sector and put a blow to tourist relations between England and France.

Challenges – Why the UK imposes a mandatory quarantine

stre has eased entry requirements to England for vaccinated travelers arriving from the United States, the European Union, and several other countries, such as Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. For nationals of these countries who have received their two doses, it will no longer be necessary to submit to a mandatory ten-day quarantine upon their arrival on British territory from next Monday. A measure which the government specifically wanted to exclude France which remains a country at risk, according to the British authorities, due to the circulation of the Beta variant in the overseas departments.

In London, Paul Charles heads the travel consultancy firm PC Agency, which encourages the British government to lift quarantine measures for travel abroad. A former BBC reporter, he launched a campaign, “Quash Quarantine”, supported by more than 500 travel agencies nationwide. For him, the maintenance of the mandatory quarantine could penalize an entire sector and put a blow to tourist relations between England and France.

Challenges – Why is the UK imposing a mandatory quarantine on all travelers returning from France, unlike other countries in Europe?

Paul Charles – British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab regularly updates the list of countries at risk, taking into account the variants circulating there. France has nothing to do in this list. The data show that the Beta variant does not have an active circulation in metropolitan France. However, to make its decision, Boris Johnson’s cabinet relied on national figures, including the cases of new contamination identified in Reunion, more than 5,000 kilometers from Paris. This is what misled him when he entered France on the list of countries classified as “orange plus” (“amber plus”). The situation has not changed since July 19. But at the time of compiling this list, we can say that the government did not have good numbers. At least, that he didn’t interpret them properly. And besides, you know that a measure is not the right one, when it is taken urgently, on a Friday evening and that it leads to a diplomatic incident in its wake.

How did British tourists react?

The tourism market is in danger of taking a hit. Many English tourists have had to cancel their reservations at the last minute, or postpone them until later. That is my case! Like last year, I was about to spend my vacation in the South, in Bandol, before the restrictions were extended. But this is also the case for many families, whose children have not yet been vaccinated, and who cannot afford to spend ten days in quarantine when they return. It’s very frustrating, because France remains a particularly popular destination for the English at this time of year. Before the pandemic, nearly 12 million Britons on average traveled to France for holidays throughout the tourist season. In summer, this represents a shortfall of 3 to 4 million visitors, especially in the last two weeks of July. In fact, airlines, ferries and the Eurostar have already started to pay the price.

Will the sector be able to recover from such a halt?

The diplomatic relations between our two countries were damaged by this announcement and, at the end of this crisis, we will have to rebuild confidence. The British authorities have deprived the sector of a much needed recovery, as the year has already been difficult. And I understand that the Secretary of State, Clément Beaune, was moved by his European counterparts. That said, the situation could change next week. On Thursday, August 5, the government will once again have to review the green light system put in place to travel to foreign countries. The Prime Minister’s office is more than divided on this issue. For me, there is no doubt that the government will reverse its decision and remove France from this list. It has to be, if we want English tourists to come back to France in August.

The health pass, the other concern of English tourists
If the mandatory quarantine could dissuade the British from going to Paris this summer, the extension of the health pass has also reduced the number of reservations in the capital. According to a study commissioned by the Paris Tourist Office from the ForwardKeys institute, announcements on the health pass led to a 24% drop in reservations in Parisian accommodation compared to 2019. That is seven points. points less than the week before Emmanuel Macron’s announcements (-17.4% compared to 2019). Still according to Forwardkeys, the British would have preferred to focus this year on sunnier destinations, such as Greece, Cyprus and Spain. A trend that could further plague the sector. In Paris, English tourists represent the second international market, behind the Americans.

 
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