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France to compensate ski resorts hit by ban on British tourists

France will compensate ski resorts affected by the new travel ban on British tourists who make up around 15 percent of French ski resort customers.

Chairlifts above the slopes in Chamrousse, France
British tourists make up over 15 percent of all tourists in some French ski resorts. Photo by Quenten Janssen on Unsplash

Speaking on C News and BFM TV on Saturday, French tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said he wanted to encourage more tourists, especially French tourists, to go to the resorts to make up for lost earnings.

Together with businesses in affected ski resorts, he said he would look at the impact of the loss of UK business in ski resorts over the next few weeks and implement “bespoke” measures to help those affected.

However, he did not specify what these might be.

“We are going to look at the figures…and we will do what we need to cushion the impact,” he said, explaining that they needed to analyse the situation first as not all resorts and businesses would be affected equally by the loss of British custom.

For example, British tourists made up a higher percentage of the total clientele in some resorts, such as Val d’Isere, Courchevel and Meribel, he said.

To stem the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, new rules banning holiday travel from the UK came into force on Saturday.

READ ALSO: Thousands rush to beat Covid travel restrictions between France and the UK

Under France’s new rules, travellers need to show a compelling reason for travel between the two countries.

The only exemptions for needing a compelling reason are for French and European travellers returning to France and British passengers heading in the other direction.

Lemoyne also noted that there could be fewer Dutch tourists in French resorts this year. On Sunday, the Netherlands entered a lockdown until at least mid-January to slow the spread of Omicron.

Dutch tourists typically make up around 5 percent of French ski resort visitors, the minister said.

 

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POLITICS

French minister: US green plan should be ‘wake-up call’ for EU industry

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Friday said Washington's $430 billion plan to spur climate-friendly technologies in the United States must be seen as a wake-up call for Europe.

French minister: US green plan should be 'wake-up call' for EU industry

The EU “must be able to sweep in front of our own door” before worrying about the effects of the US climate plan on European industry, Le Maire told AFP in Washington, where he was part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s US state visit.

Even though the EU has already “changed its approach” on promoting green industry, the US climate plan must be seen as a “wake-up call” in the European Union, he added.

Le Maire’s comments came as EU countries have poured criticism on Washington’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), seeing it as anti-competitive and a threat to European jobs, especially in the energy and auto sectors.

Subsidies for green energy

The act, designed to accelerate the US transition to a low-carbon economy, contains around $370 billion in subsidies for green energy as well as tax cuts for US-made electric cars and batteries.

Macron on Wednesday slammed the plan’s “Made in USA” provisions as “super aggressive” for European businesses.

But at a joint press conference with Macron, Biden said that he and the French leader had agreed to “discuss practical steps to coordinate and align our approaches”, though he said he would not apologize for the US plan.

Biden added the IRA was never intended to disadvantage any US allies.

Threats of retaliatory measures

Last month, EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton threatened to appeal to the World Trade Organization and consider “retaliatory measures” if the United States did not reverse its subsidies.

Le Maire also criticized the EU’s own climate spending plans, arguing that they were too cumbersome and loaded with red tape.

“If the ambition is the same” as the Europeans, the United States relies on methods that “are simpler and faster”, he said.

“They put immediate and massive tax credits where we provide state aid (to specific projects) which sometimes take two years to be adopted and are too complex to implement,” said Le Maire.

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