Coronavirus: ‘not reasonable’ to expect tourists in France this summer
Friday, 01 May 2020
The French Riviera. Credit: Belga
The French Minister for Health, Olivier Véran, is not sure if foreign tourists will be flocking to France in large numbers this summer, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am not sure if it is reasonable to anticipate it, to consider it,” Véran said, when questioned on the LCI news channel, adding that he expects to have a clearer view of the issue by the end of May-early June.
“I have some doubts about the ability of Europeans to leave their countries to go to another neighbouring country,” Véran said. If the French and Schengen borders are open, this will not be the case for those outside the Schengen area, according to him.
Asked about the possibility of German, Dutch or English tourists coming to France this summer, he remained cautious. “I am not sure that we should expect massive population transfers during July or August across the states,” he said.
The minister called for humility and modesty in the face of a “multifaceted virus that has deceived us many times,” and stressed that he does not have a definitive answer, but hopes to have a clearer view on the issue within the next three to four weeks.
“As soon as we can get the tourist machine going again, as soon as we can give the French people the summer that they wish for back, we will do it,” Véran said, adding that he was aware that the tourist sector is badly affected by the current crisis and that the population wants to have prospects for the summer holidays. “But we will do it when it will not put them at risk,” he insisted.