Countries, Europe, Skiing

Brexit et La Ban est merde

Mais oui… Brexit et La Ban est merde.

But did we really imagine the French would just continue to shrug their shoulders at our insults and go… ooh, la, la?

When the UK has been poking le stick at Les Francais these past seven years (and longer, centuries really) over.

And Priti Patel petulantly refusing to even meet them.

Vive Les Remainers

It’s all downhill: But I’d be up for it

It would be wrong, of course, to imagine that all Britons are the same.

And the group I travelled to the Eiger in Switzerland with post-referendum needed some warming up.

And not just with gluehwein because of the cold but because they were white as sheets from the shock of Britain’s decision to leave Europe.

Well les poulet are coming home to roost now.

And as ever it is our holiday providers and holidaymakers who are suffering.

With one travel professional on a message board summing up what many of us are feeling…”that’s Disney and skiing screwed.”

The horse has bolted

Slipping up: But get back in the gondola

Of course our dream makers (holiday providers) will not give up as easily as the French government.

They are clearly are in denial about Omicron already being in their country.

What is the French for le cheval s’est enfui?

All of which is very much on my radar with my Ski France trip with mon ami Rosie to Val D’Isere hoving into view.

And my old pal and multi-award winning ski correspondent Catherine ‘Murphski’ Murphy putting up enticing pics of how skiing has been looking in the Alps.

Le Ban, as I’m very imaginatively calling it, has come at the worst possible time.

And needless to say, or in fact very needful to say our travel agents, the lifeblood of our industry, are fizzing.

Travel agents hit back

The avalanche: It’s enough to make you scream

Our friends at the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association nailed it when they used winter words to describe what it means for holidays.

Mike Tibbert, vice president of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association spoke out.

He said: ‘It’s like watching an approaching avalanche and being unable to outrun it.

‘The announcements about travel restrictions for UK travellers to France come in the same week as the regulations around the pass sanitaire.

‘The French equivalent of the vaccine passport – changing meaning it has to be used on ski lifts and in resort too.

“Although the French government has indicated that only those with a ‘compelling reason’ for entry to France will be permitted to travel..

‘This does appear to include visiting family, but not for those travelling for tourism. 


Bravo: On World Cup final day at the French Embassy in Dublin

And he also flagged up our emigrees from Scotland to France. 

‘Many Scots have homes in France, and it appears they will need evidence of residency to travel to these for Christmas.

‘At this time of year, those mostly affected by the announcements will be those visiting France to spend Christmas with friends and those who have skiiing breaks booked.

‘Each year 1.5million UK residents go on at least one international ski holiday with 5% of them going over Christmas.

‘That equates to around 75,000 skiers.

‘It’s another hammer blow for the travel sector, as this is the third season in a row to be disrupted.

‘With one and a half seasons not taking place at all.

“There’s no end date to this restriction from the French government, so the wider main ski season period may be affected.

‘It’s estimated that 40% of UK skiers who take an overseas holiday – 600,000 of them – do so in season but outside the school holidays.

‘Confidence is rock bottom for the Scottish travellers. 

‘What little confidence there has been is shattered at the speed of these changes. 

‘On this occasion they are announced out of the blue on Thursday morning and come into force on Saturday at midnight.’

A hundred years of history 

Skis ready: And I’m ready when you are

And why do the SPAA carry such weight, way beyond the borders of this small tip of an island in the north of Europe?

Well, only because it is the oldest organisation in the world representing travel agents and boasts 120 member companies.

‘All their associated agencies across the country including many home workers.

And 92 associate members across the travel and transport industry.

This year should have been the cause of celebration to mark its centenary.

But because of this latest blow and much more Grinch has come again.

And that and much more is why Brexit et Le Ban est merde.