THREE QUESTIONS FOR – The President of Travel Companies reacts to the government’s announcements concerning trips outside Europe from Wednesday.
France will ease travel restrictions to non-European destinations from June 9. The government has drawn up a list, which classifies the countries of the world in three colors: green, orange and red, depending on the evolution of the epidemic and the presence of variants. If it will be impossible to reach the red countries for tourist reasons, joining the green countries for vacations will be easy, especially for vaccinated travelers. Thus, the French authorities will let the vaccinated travel without constraint to the countries classified in green while the non-vaccinated will have to carry out a PCR or antigen test on their return.
But, and this is where it gets complicated, that a country is classified in green does not necessarily mean that French tourists will be able to go there. Each state remains sovereign and can define its own restrictions on the arrival of foreign tourists, for example requiring a vaccine or imposing a quarantine … Let’s try to see more clearly with Jean-Pierre Mas, the president of Travel Companies.
LE FIGARO. – Does the government card not mislead French travelers?
Jean-Pierre MAS. – Outside European countries and apart from Lebanon, it is currently not possible for the French to travel to countries on the government’s green list. The problem is that there is no condition of reciprocity, still subject to diplomatic discussions with the different countries, on a case-by-case basis. But the image of France, which had the reputation of being a country at risk, is changing. The vaccination campaign is progressing and hospitals are no longer saturated. Sometimes there is also the opposite phenomenon: countries accept French travelers while France maintains restrictions to and from them, Turkey for example. In any case, there will be aberrations: some European countries will be able to welcome nationals that France does not allow to enter its territory. So that they will be able to enter France via these countries … There is no European harmonization.
From June 9, the French authorities will allow only vaccinated tourists to fly to a country classified “orange”. What explains the government’s turnaround, which until now believed that giving benefits to vaccinated travelers amounted to discriminating against others?
From January, we insisted with the government that France support the health pass project. At first, we were told that this posed too many problems in terms of discrimination and protection of personal data. Then the government’s position changed. The progress of the vaccination campaign was decisive. One could not imagine the authorities reserving the right to travel to only those vaccinated when they represented only a small part of the population. And then the behavior of certain European countries which willingly ease the restrictions on vaccinated people has pushed the French public authorities to do the same.
Which destinations are you working with on a potential reopening?
We are in contact with the governments of the tourist countries on which we can have an influence. Mauritius for example, which is preparing to welcome new tourists after more than a year and a half of closure. But also destinations like the Dominican Republic, the Maldives, the Seychelles, Tanzania, Tunisia or Morocco.