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France attracts tourists with free PCR tests

France attracts tourists with free PCR tests

The country wants to remain a top tourist destination this summer

A terrible year for tourism worldwide is hopefully behind us. Now that countries in Europe are gradually lifting COVID-19 restrictions, things are beginning to look up and destinations are entering the fierce competition for visitors. For France, the most visited country in the world, it is of utmost economic importance to retain its tourism attractiveness. That is why the country is mobilising new resources in the contest for foreign visitors this summer: free PCR tests.

Free PCRs in France, but only for foreigners

According to, Clément Beaune, Secretary of State for European Affairs, speaking for Europe 1 on Sunday evening, foreign tourists in France will be able to get a free PCR test before they return home. In comparison, tourists have to pay up to 300 euros for tests in some other European countries, as Beaune was quoted saying on Le Figaro.

A substantial sum like this can act as a deterrent to cross-border tourism, hence the European Parliament requests that PCR be made free for citizens. The possibility to harmonise PCR price is also being studied and could be beneficial for tourism, in the opinion of the Secretary of State. The French newswire also quoted a study by Atout agency stating that last year France lost over 60 billion euros in tourism revenue.

Although France is a pioneer in this approach, French citizens leaving on a vacation abroad will not get a free PCR test as this will be too heavy of a burden for the social security system.

Finally, while the European Union is currently debating on the mechanics of its Digital Green Certificate and is getting ready to introduce it at the end of June, France envisions to introduce its own national certificate from 9 June. Such travel document will eliminate the need to take a PCR test at the airport.

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