French holiday bookings have jumped after Paris said it would ease restrictions on UK travellers, travel firms have said.
Jet2 reported a “sharp” increase in bookings and searches for flights to French skiing destinations.
In addition, tour operator Tui reported that ski bookings more than doubled on Wednesday following reports that the rules would be changed.
When France banned all but essential travel last month, many UK vacationers were forced to cancel their plans.
But from Friday, vaccinated Britons will no longer need a compelling reason to enter France or self-isolate when they arrive.
They will only need to present a negative Covid-19 test taken 24 hours before leaving the UK.
ABTA, which represents British travel agents, said the rule change was a relief for both holidaymakers and travel firms.
“Thousands of people head [to France] for ski breaks at this time of year, so this will be a huge relief for customers who have holidays booked there for the next few weeks and have been waiting for news,” it said.
It went on to say that the French government still needed to provide more information on entry requirements, including rules for children.
The rule change, according to Jet2 CEO Steve Heapy, is good news for the thousands of Britons who go skiing in France during the winter.
“This is the good news that skiers and snowboarders have been waiting for, and the increase in ski flight bookings has been both sharp and immediate,” he said.
Tui, which owns Crystal Ski Holidays, said bookings had increased in anticipation of the rules being relaxed.
“Bookings to France doubled yesterday even before the announcement, and we would expect another very positive uptick now that it’s official,” Crystal Ski Holidays managing director Chris Logan said.
Diane Palumbo, sales director at independent tour operator Skiworld, said the announcement came too late for bookings for this weekend, which had been cancelled – despite the fact that many customers wanted to rebook.
She said there was “enormous” interest in the rest of the season, with many people ready for a break after two years of Covid restrictions.
Brittany Ferries CEO Christophe Mathieu said the rule change “comes as a great relief,” adding that “businesses in the travel sector have struggled to survive.”
“Thousands of Brittany Ferries passengers have been inconvenienced, and millions of pounds in revenue have been lost as a result of draconian measures such as border closures,” he said.
Eurostar said it would “increase the frequency of our services in the coming weeks” and was “prepared to welcome more passengers on board.”