French Ski Lifts To Remain Shut Throughout February Holidays.
FRENCH authorities have announced that ski lifts at mountain resorts will stay closed throughout the month of February, essentially writing off this winter sports tourism season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. France is currently not in lockdown and people are in theory free to visit resorts and stay in hotels but the lifts have been closed for months, in effect making the skiing season a write-off.
Prime Minister Jean Castex has promised compensation for the winter sports sector, which counts for between 250,000 and 400,000 direct and indirect jobs in France. Castex met industry chiefs to discuss the situation on Monday, with his office saying afterwards: “The evolution of the health situation does not allow us at this stage to reopen the ski lifts.”
Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said that while no date had been set for the reopening of ski lifts, people could still visit the resorts if they so wish. That means families hoping to take their traditional February ski breaks during forthcoming holidays will have access to the resorts, however, there will be no lifts to get them to the top of the slopes.
Resort restaurants are also shut because of coronavirus restrictions and tourists will only be able to practise activities such as cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing. France’s two-week February school breaks start on Saturday in some parts of the country.
The government said occupancy rates at ski resorts collapsed to between 20 and 30 per cent during the Christmas holidays when ski lifts were already shut. Instead, many holidaymakers crossed into neighbouring Switzerland and Spain, where skiing resorts remained open.
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