Capri hits back over French beachwear jibe

Capri’s tourism authority has hit back at French newspaper Le Monde after a columnist published an article criticizing the “oafish” beachwear of the island’s visitors, with one tourism operator even accusing the paper of “foul play”.

Capri hits back over French beachwear jibe
Photo: dhruvaraj/Flickr

In an article entitled ‘Capri beachwear’ published on August 8th in Le Monde, French journalist Marc Beaugé launches into a written attack on the dress sense of tourists visiting the southern Italian island of Capri.

“Nothing should sway you as you debark on the island in the Neapolitan bay when you discover a crowd of tourists ordinarily decked out in vests, bumbags, flip flops, clip-on sunglasses, faded jeans, fluorescent flowered swimsuits, Maori tattoos and accessorized with a large-lens camera on their stomach,” begins the offending column.

The journalist then goes on to bemoan the loss of a bygone era when visitors wore pastel colours, white trousers, tight-fitting polo shirts and loafers.

The piece ends with a suggestion that everyone “replaces his t-shirt with a polo shirt, his swimming trunks with swimming shorts and swaps his flip flops for a pair of espadrilles. It’s the least you could do.”

Unsurprisingly, this advice didn’t go down too well with the island’s tourism board.

Speaking to the regional daily Positano News, Fernanda Speranza, the island’s Commissioner for Hospitality and Tourism said: “The positive data about foreign tourists in Capri contradict what the journalist from Le Monde wrote.

“Maybe it [the positive data] has succeeded in exciting [the interest of] French tourist operators,” she said, adding that it was a “typical case of foul play”.

“But here in Capri everyone is welcome,” she continued. “In fact, the island is beautiful and its natural arches, its rocks, its alleyways and its breathtaking views. No florescent t-shirt can take that away.” 

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Tourism minister: Book your French ski holiday now

France’s ski resorts will be open for business this winter, tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has promised - but no decision has yet been taken on whether a health pass will be required to use ski lifts.

Skiers at a French Alpine resort
Photo: Philippe Desmazes / AFP

“This winter, it’s open, the resorts are open,” Lemoyne told France 2’s 4 Vérités programme.

“Compared to last year, we have the vaccine,” he said, adding that he would “invite those who have not yet done so to [book], because … there will soon be no more room.”

And he promised an answer ‘in the next few days’ to the question of whether health passes would be required for winter holidaymakers to use ski lifts. “Discussions are underway with the professionals,” he said.

The stakes are high: the closure of ski lifts last winter cost manufacturers and ski shops nearly a billion euros. 

This year ski lifts will remain open, but a health pass may be necessary to access them. The health pass is already compulsory for après ski activities such as visits to bars, cafés and restaurants.

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Many town halls and communities which depend on winter sports have found it difficult or impossible to make ends meet.

“It’s time for the French mountains to revive,” Lemoyne said, pointing to the fact that the government has provided “more than €6 billion” in aid to the sector.

Winter tourism professionals, however, have said that they are struggling to recruit for the winter season.

“Restaurant and bars are very affected,” by the recruitment crisis, one expert told Franceinfo, blaming a lack of urgency from authorities towards the winter holiday industry.

“We are all asking ourselves what we should do tomorrow to find full employment in the resort,” the expert added.

Post-Brexit visa and work permit rules mean that ski businesses have found it difficult to recruit Brits for short-term, seasonal positions.