Many people in France were happy to learn that with the easing of the nation’s lockdown, they might be able to take a summer vacation as normal in July or August.
Prime Minister 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.”
International travel is another story, however, and caution is advised. Minister of State for European Affairs Amélie de Montchalin recommended that people hold off on booking trips to other European nations, adding: “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 prime minister announced an €18 billion aid plan “to prevent the collapse of the tourism sector, which accounts for 8 percent 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.
“For the time being, we have no idea,” said Rudy Salles, deputy mayor of Nice and former MP for the Maritime Alps region. One of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, it includes the French Riviera, Nice, Cannes and Monaco.
“The prime minister told us that the French can come on vacation. This is good news because up until now, people could not travel more than 100 kilometers from their main residence. Therefore, we are preparing a campaign to try and attract French customers.”
There are also hopes, he said, that the borders might soon open to travelers from other European nations.