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France boosts domestic tourism this summer with 5 million cheap train tickets

SNCF is providing discount domestic travel across France this summer
SNCF is providing discount domestic travel across France this summer   -   Copyright  Barthelemy de Mazenod / Unsplash

One of France’s biggest train companies is offering millions of discounted tickets to locals as part of a drive to increase domestic travel.

SNCF, the official European distribution channel of France’s railways, has announced there are 5 million discounted train tickets available to encourage people to experience the country by train.

The initiative went live on May 3 to celebrate the lifting of regional travel restrictions.

With a maximum cost of €39, major operators including TGV Inoui, Ouigo and Intercité will be providing journeys to “a variety of destinations”, according to Head of SNCF Voyageurs, Christophe Fanichet.

All tickets will be fully refundable or exchangeable up to three days before departure. If it’s a family trip you’re planning, travel for children under the age of 12 will cost just €8 until 29 August to any destination in France.

How do I get my ticket?

If you’re currently based in France, tickets go on sale every Wednesday here.

Where can I travel at a discounted price?

After another national lockdown in France, many are keen to get away from their hometown.

The mainline tickets include major cities like Paris, Bordeaux, Marseille and Lyon, as well as Toulouse, Biarritz and Avignon among others.

You can find out more here.

The impact of COVID-19 on France’s tourism industry

The initiative is, of course, designed to help combat the damaging consequences of COVID-19 on tourism industries around the world.

SNCF reported a loss of 48 per cent of passengers on high-speed trains in 2020 - though that number did increase over summer 2020, which saw traffic return to around 85 per cent of 2019’s figures.

In the longer term, SNCF hopes to introduce travel packages which complement the new norm of a remote working lifestyle, as well as additional plans to reignite travel for business.