France expects 50 million foreign tourists this summer: Minister

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Foreign tourism to France is rebounding this summer versus last year when the pandemic shut borders, though American and Asian visitors will remain limited, Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

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France expects 50 million foreign tourists, up from 35 million last summer but down from 90 million in 2019, Lemoyne said. A so-called health pass -- proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test -- is required to enter museums and theme parks, and that will be extended to bars, restaurants and long-distance trains starting Aug. 9.

“A period of teaching will be necessary for the French to get used to the health pass,” Lemoyne said. “But it is essential to keep all these establishments open. The best way to ensure a strong tourist season is for everyone to get vaccinated,” he said.

European tourists are back in force, except for British visitors because the UK government is requiring a 14-day isolation upon return from France, the minister said. While a few Americans are starting to travel to the country, Asian customers won’t be back until next year, he said.

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