“This winter, it’s open, the resorts are open,” Lemoyne told France 2’s 4 Vérités programme.
"Cet hiver, les stations de sport d'hiver seront ouvertes. J'invite les Français à réserver"
💬 @JBLemoyne, Secrétaire d'Etat chargé du tourisme
— Info France 2 (@infofrance2) November 5, 2021
“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.
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.