With increased health constraints, curfews and tourists deciding at the last moment, the outlook for the All Saints holiday is bleak for the tourism sector, despite government encouragement to leave.
“I encourage the French to book” for the All Saints’ Day holidays, declared the Secretary of State for Tourism Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne earlier this week, promising that the government would “do everything” so that the tourist season can “Take place until Christmas”.
But the rise of the Covid-19 which has led to the establishment of a curfew since Friday evening in many major metropolitan areas in France is fueling uncertainty and despite everything shaking up the plans of many French people.
Last minute and lower attendance
A phenomenon which is reflected first and foremost in last minute reservations which deprive professionals of visibility.
“Friday evening, we had six rooms reserved and we had eight more during the day on Saturday” for these holidays, testifies Serge Vervoitte, owner for sixteen years of the four-star hotel-restaurant Le Goyen, in Audierne in Finistère .
Beyond the fact that people decide at the last minute, attendance is also lower.
Last Monday, the day when the Interministerial Committee dedicated to the tourism sector (CIT) met, five days before the holidays, the reservation rate was only slightly above 13% (13.3% in the regions, 13.9 % in Ile-de-France), against around 47% a year earlier (37.9% in regions, 55.9% in Ile-de-France), according to the specialist firm MKG Consulting.
“The trend is quite catastrophic for urban tourism, and having a curfew does not help matters”, confirms Didier Arino, director of the specialist firm Protourism.
Beyond Paris and its region, “there is also an impact for the metropolises which tended not to do too badly this year, like those of Aix-Marseille or Montpellier”, observes Didier Arino.
Brittany and Normandy acclaimed
Can rural tourism benefit from the situation? Dynamic during the summer, it “does not represent significant volumes at this time of the year”, Didier Arino recalls. But coastal areas should be popular with city dwellers wishing to escape the curfew, such as Normandy or Brittany for example.
On the ground, professionals testify to a little “thrill” for All Saints’ Day.
The owner of the two-star Le Chantilly hotel in Deauville, Rachid Oumakhlouf, for his part estimates the decline at 10 to 15%, the proximity of the capital helping. But “before the holidays, the month of October was very difficult,” he explains.
This ebb is all the more damaging as the All Saints’ Day holidays have been increasingly popular in recent years, with around 8 million departures last year.