The period had nevertheless experienced a certain boom in recent years
TOURISM – The period had nevertheless experienced a certain boom in recent years “It’s already the vacation ? »As we approach All Saints’ Day, this reflection often returns, in the mouths of adults more than in those of schoolchildren, to the evocation of the first school holidays of the year, which start on October 17.
For the sector tourism, these holidays never come too early. And even less this year, because of the coronavirus. But if the professionals were able to limit the damage thanks to a slightly less catastrophic summer than expected, the coming weeks should not be saving.
A booming period
For a long time, these autumn holidays were reserved for tradition: visit to graves and reunion with families. A first break after the start of the school year which was therefore not dedicated to holiday madness, as evidenced by Guy Raffour, founder of Raffour interactive, a firm specializing in tourism: “We have always seen a predominance of non-commercial, short stays, in family, friends or in second homes. “But the situation changed ten years ago: whereas previously, around 4 million French people left during this period, nearly double (7.4 million) traveled in 2019. The reasons are first structural, according to the expert: “All Saints’ Day has taken on more importance with the passage from one to two weeks and with its dezoning. This facilitated the reunion in family when these are far away. Another element emerged: low cost flights, and with them new destinations for short stays.
Didier Arino, Managing Director of Protourisme, recounts this enthusiasm: “Over two weeks, parents had to find a way to occupy the children. Teleworking, which was already developing, also made it possible to move without taking any leave. »So much so that amusement parks like the Puy du Fou or Disneyland have extended their closing dates to welcome the public. “The low cost have also encouraged young urbanites to travel to European cities like Rome, Lisbon, Venice, Amsterdam or Barcelona, continues Didier Arino. And seniors took the opportunity to afford stays in club formula in the Maghreb countries. “
The Covid-19 turns everything upside down
Yes, but here it is, this year is unlike any other, and the All Saints’ Day holidays should experience a serious brake. “People hesitate to go see their parents or grandparents for fear of infecting them, notes Didier Arino. Most des clusters are in town, which cools city tourism. And many people have not been able to work, in whole or in part, for weeks, which limits the possibilities of time off. In any case, we do not risk leaving more than 100 kilometers for fear of health measures such as confinement, which could pose problems for the return. ” Same telecommuting, which has grown strongly since the start of the pandemic, does not prevent reservations from collapsing.
The figures revealed are final. Guillaume Rostand, president of Liligo, online reservations platform: “We are at -65% of reservations compared to last year. If there was a slight increase this summer (- 50% compared to 2019), the effect of “second wave”Is already there. “Pessimistic, he does not hope for last minute bookings, as was the case this summer:” Travelers are suspicious, they are waiting to see what will happen in the coming weeks. And to mention the fear of cancellations of flights by airlines, which have fallen from 4% usually to 50% this summer.
France, “more secure”, privileged
Consequence of this troubled period: new destinations are emerging. The popular North America, South America and Asia have disappeared from the reservations radar, according to Guillaume Rostand: “New York, for example, which squats in the top 3 every year during this period, is now only the 35th destination sought by our customers. On the other hand, the French overseas departments and territories are regaining a certain popularity. Reunion even comes at the top of the searches. Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe) and Fort-de-France (Martinique) occupy 4th and 5th places (behind Porto and Lisbon): “The French are looking for domestic destinations. The prices are lower and it is more secure. We see Paris-Nice or Paris-Toulouse overtaking Paris-Barcelona, this is unprecedented at this time. “And the price is not to be neglected, since as Guy Raffour points out, many French people are severely affected by the economic crisis.
But then, if All Saints’ Day turns out to be as gloomy as expected, will the sector be able to catch up on Christmas and February? A hope that Didier Arino bitterly showered: “We could very well be in the same situation. The discouragement is global. “