France will ease its rules for vaccinated travelers amid a rush to book last-minute mid-term vacations.
A French government minister has said he will remove the requirement for vaccinated travelers from outside the EU to have a negative Covid test before arrival.
Clement Beaune, France’s Europe minister, suggested it would be confirmed this week in time for Britons looking for skiing and other half-term holidays across the Channel.
Unvaccinated children over the age of 12 are currently required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival, but the NHS app showing whether a child has ever had an infection is now integrated into the French system and is accepted as a substitute for being completely stung.
The French announcement follows similar moves to drop testing for vaccinated travelers from Portugal and Greece as the wave of Omicron that swept the continent subsided.
The opening will spur a rush for last-minute bookings by British families who had delayed their decisions for fear of coronavirus restrictions.
“35% of all mid-term bookings have been made in the past few weeks”
Agents said customers were preparing to jump on more expensive last-minute flights after postponing their bookings for as long as possible in case they were derailed by rapidly changing travel rules.
Advantage Travel Partnership, the UK’s largest network of independent travel agents, said 35% of all mid-term holiday bookings were made in recent weeks as customers feared overcommitment early.
The UK government’s decision to relax testing rules in time for the half-term holidays also provided a boost. Skyscanner said mid-term bookings jumped 120% in the past two weeks.
Europe’s biggest holiday company echoed the findings. Announcing its latest quarterly results yesterday, Tui said it was experiencing a trend of “very short-term bookings”.
Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of ATP, said: “Normally we would be about full now. There are so many restrictions and families in particular wait until the last minute to see if they can actually travel. People also need to be more selective about where they go.
She said holidays to the Canary Islands would normally account for 20% of all mid-term bookings, but just last week that figure fell to 15%.