France has tightened its entry restrictions for UK travellers as the Covid-19 Omicron variant takes hold.
From Saturday 18 December, only those with a ‘compelling’ reason to visit the country will be permitted entry. And regardless of vaccination status, all UK visitors must now provide a negative Covid test taken less than 24 hours before arrival.
In addition, visitors must self-isolate for a week once in France but may end quarantine after 48 hours by providing a second negative test.
Prior to travelling, visitors will also have to register their destination address in France via a digital form.
Leisure travel and non-urgent business trips will not be allowed, but essential work trips and visiting family are permissible. French residents will also be allowed to enter the country.
Reacting to the news, Clive Wratten, chief executive of the Business Travel Association, said: “The introduction of an almost blanket ban on Britons entering France is devastating for the travel sector on both sides of the Channel.
“It is a massive step backwards for safe international travel and once again puts livelihoods and economies in peril.”
Wratten continued: “We are urgently calling for the UK government to bring back financial support for the travel sector. We are battling to make it into 2022 and are the only industry currently operating under restrictions.
“The return of 80 per cent furlough until the end of Q1 2022 for our sector would guarantee the industry’s survival and ensure we can play our part in supporting the UK economy once more.”
ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer described the changes as “a hammer blow to the winter travel industry, which is already under extreme pressure following the new Omicron restrictions”.
He added: “The [UK] government must now bring forward a support package if we are not to see company failures and job losses. The travel and tourism sector has had little chance to generate income since early 2020 and is now faced with another wave of cancellations.”