France will miss British tourists this summer

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Rebooting tourism between the UK and France is likely to be high on Emmanuel Macron’s agenda during his visit to London.

The French president will be concerned that the current 14-day self-isolation rules which apply to all travellers arriving in the UK could see the tap of British visitors to his country effectively turned off.

Here is a look at the state of tourism in France as the Covid-19 lockdown starts to ease.

– Tourism frozen

The value of the tourism industry had already fallen by 64% by early April, according to a document published by the French government.

Hotels and restaurants saw a 90% drop in visitors, while tour operators and travel agents had suffered a 97% slump in bookings.

– GDP hit

Tourism accounts for about 8% of France’s GDP, and the French government has warned that the hit from coronavirus could account for a 25% drop in tourism-generated GDP in 2020.

– Industry outlook

An industry-wide survey found that 85% of those working in tourism thought the drop in visitors would continue for at least six months, with 80% expecting it to last up to 12 months.

– British visitors 

Approximately 13 million Britons visited France for at least one night in 2018 – the most recent figures available – and make up the highest percentage of France’s foreign visitors.

The drop in British tourism will be a big loss for France, with Britons spending almost 6 billion euros (£5.4 billion) in the country in 2017.

– Brexit

Before Covid-19, Brexit and the struggling pound were already having an impact on numbers.

Between 2018 and 2019, the total number of nights spent by British travellers in French hotels fell by 1.2 million, or 10.6%.

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