May 15, 2020 / 9:05 AM / 17 days ago

Check-up after check-in: Accor bets on online medicine for hotel rebound

FILE PHOTO: The logos of AccorHotels group is pictured during a news conference at the Pullman Bangkok King Power hotel, in Bangkok, Thailand, June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s Accor (ACCP.PA), which runs hotels such as Ibis and Movenpick, said on Friday it would offer its clients free access to online medical consultations run by insurer AXA (AXAF.PA) as it prepares for a recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

France’s tourism sector, which accounts for almost 8% of economic output, has been hammered by the pandemic, although companies are implementing schemes to encourage people to eventually return.

Accor and Axa said in a statement that their programme would be operational from July.

“This initiative combined with our ... enhanced hygiene protocols, will be key to rediscover the love of travel,” said Sebastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of Accor.

Accor guests would get free access to the medical network and online consultations run by French insurer AXA. Eventual face-to-face consultations or medications would be charged to clients, according to the agreement.

In France 95% of hotels are still closed, although countries around the world are slowly easing draconian lockdown measures aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

The pandemic has driven a surge in the use of online medical consultations across many countries, as the virus threat led to some anxiety among patients amid worries that seeing a doctor in person could expose them to infection.

France on Thursday announced measures worth 18 billion euros ($19 billion) to support the tourism industry.

Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva; Editing by Sarah White/Sudip Kar-Gupta

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