France looks to welcome summer holidays as PM Edouard Philippe encourages citizens to make bookings
FRENCH residents were happy to learn that with the easing of the nation’s lockdown, they may be able to take a summer holiday as normal in July or August.
PM Edouard Philippe even encouraged them to go ahead and make bookings for destinations within France, safe in the knowledge that “the stakeholders of the tourism and hospitality sectors are committed to reimbursing them in full in the event the epidemic makes it impossible for them to go on vacation.”
However, international travel is another story as Minister of State for European Affairs Amélie de Montchalin recommended that people hold off on booking trips to other European nations, saying, “There is not enough certainty surrounding the situation and what will be possible in two or three months.”
As in many other countries, the tourist industry in France has been badly affected by the coronavirus crisis. On May 14, the PM announced an €18 billion aid plan “to prevent the collapse of the tourism sector, which accounts for 8 per cent of France’s GDP.”
While the return of domestic tourism is a welcome first step toward recovery, it is not yet clear whether French borders will remain closed to non-European visitors during the holiday season.
Rudy Salles, deputy mayor of Nice and former MP for the Maritime Alps region said
“The prime minister told us that the French can come on holiday. This is good news because up until now, people could not travel more than 100 kilometres from their main residence. Therefore, we are preparing a campaign to try and attract French customers.”
The Maritime Alps region is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, it includes the French Riviera, Nice, Cannes and Monaco. Many businesses and parks in Nice and on the French Riviera are open. Beaches reopened this weekend, Salles pointed out that,
“People will not be allowed to sit on their towels on the beach but they can go for walks there,” he added. “From June 2, restaurants, bars and cafes will also be open, along with hotels that were closed due to the lack of customers.”