Britons thinking twice about travelling to France

Contributed by editor on Jan 19, 2009 - 07:00 AM

The plunging value of the pound abroad is making Britons think twice
about heading across the English Channel for a break, and their love
affair with buying French holiday homes is well and truly over, experts

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The British currency has plunged by 20 per cent
against the euro in recent months

The British invasion of some parts of France is well documented and for
years buyers flush from booming property prices here have bought
property in places like the Dordogne, turning some areas into virtual
British enclaves.

But that has all changed. 'People are really nervous,' said Steve
Gillham, estate agent for Alliance French Property Group, adding that
his company had had virtually no sales since last October.

Tourism chiefs meanwhile are crossing their fingers that the 15 million
Britons who stayed in France in 2008 will not cancel their holidays
across the Channel this year.

Forecasts by the Foreign Office and the travel industry federation ABTA
suggest that France and Spain will remain the biggest destinations for
British travellers this year despite the unfavourable exchange rate.

But destinations outside the 16-nation eurozone, such as Turkey and
Egypt, will likely see a surge in British holidaymakers this year as
Britons seek cheap sun outside the pricey euro area.

While the weakened pound is hitting Britons' plans to travel abroad, the
British tourist industry is hoping the country's relative cheapness will
attract more foreign visitors - although figures so far do not reflect