France travel ban: Expert names ski holiday’s ‘safest bet’ after losing ‘100s of thousands

France: British expat reveals skiing business could fold

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Britons have been banned from France by the country’s president, Emmanuel Macron. A rush to cancel winter holidays has left the winter travel industry devastated and many Britons without the prospect of a holiday.

Travel has again been put at risk with the latest announcement from France.

And while the industry is hopeful this will be “a quick turnaround” decision such as the one seen by Switzerland, which only lasted six days, there is a possibility Macron will stay the course.

Maison Sport sells ski lessons through its platform, with instructors “across most of Europe, but predominantly France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria”. 

Nick Robinson, the company’s founder and CEO, had some recommendations for Britons in need of a holiday.

Many people, he said, were holding on.

“For next week, it’s done. But people who were hoping to travel for new year’s week are still waiting to see if it will be a quick change, a quick turnaround.

“A lot of holiday companies are offering help if you need to move your holiday, but people are just desperate to go away so people are waiting.”

For those who’d rather not wait and want to book a holiday alternative to France, Nick recommended Switzerland.

He explained if he was looking for a holiday right now, he “would be headed to Switzerland”.

He continued: “Your safest bet would be Switzerland. They got rid of their travel ban and I feel it’s unlikely they’ll reimpose that travel ban.

“And they kept their ski resorts open last winter when everyone else was locked down. There’s very little chance of them closing ski resorts this winter.”

Britons who have come to terms with a holiday not happening within the next couple of weeks could still get some snow later in the season.

Nick said: “Half term is great to go skiing. February is the busiest month for skiing.

“But even Easter as well, the UK Easter holiday is really popular because the snow is still good in the morning and the sun is shining.

“You will get a mixture of snow and sun holiday.

“If you want sun, go in April. You could be skiing down a slope in a t-shirt and have a really nice time.”

In general, Nick recommended “booking for as late as possible”.

He said: “Spring time is a long time away from now and hopefully we’ll be over the restrictions, we’re hoping anyway.

“So leave it as late as possible, and if you go in spring, book a resort at high altitude for snow conditions to still be good.”

The winter travel industry has been devastated by the latest restrictions.

In the last couple of days, Nick’s company “had to refund hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of lessons due to people not being able to travel over in the next two to three weeks”.

Instructors across Europe have also taken a heavy blow.

Nick explained: “Some of the instructors have lost five or 10,000 pounds worth of bookings over the next three week period.

“Some of them had no income last winter, took other jobs and had financial support from their various governments.

“The industry will lose a lot of instructors, especially in France and Italy where the level of qualification required to work is six or seven years’ worth of training.

“It’s a professional endeavour. These are not just people who enjoy the lifestyle. They have actually made a career out of it.”

Nick called for some financial aid and said the industry had been “left to fend for themselves”.

“While the situation caused by the Omicron variant is developing extremely quickly, it is vital that the skiing, as well as the wider travel industry, is not forgotten by governments and urgent financial assistance is provided.”

Maison Sport

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