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UPDATE 1-French hotel group Accor expects strong summer after weak Q1

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April 21 (Reuters) - Europe’s biggest hotel group Accor expects a strong recovery this summer with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines after reporting another fall in first-quarter revenue, dragged down by northern Europe due to the extension of strict lockdowns.

The acceleration of vaccine campaigns and Europe moving forward with the certification project bodes well for a rebound this summer, Chief Financial Officer Jean-Jacques Morin said in a conference call with reporters.

“What we really see is that as soon as people can, they are eager to travel and consume; the way is to go back to a certain normality and then business will follow,” he added.

European Union countries formally agreed last week to launch COVID-19 travel passes as a step towards reopening to tourism this summer.

The group, which runs high-end chains Sofitel and Pullman, as well as budget ones such as Ibis, added it saw year-on-year improvements in southern Europe, Australia, the Middle East and North America, although revenue was still down.

First-quarter revenue fell 48% on a like-for-like basis to 361 million euros ($433.78 million).

$1 = 0.8322 euros Reporting by Kate Entringer and Anait Miridzhanian in Gdansk; editing by David Evans

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