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“People go to the mountains because it’s Christmas, and not necessarily at another time”: the end of the year celebrations, another failure for the tourism sector


Do miracles happen six months apart? The tourism sector is waiting to see, having saved its summer at the last minute and against all odds. But the few actors who rely on the Christmas holidays to fill their cash flow doubt it very much, after the announcements of the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, Thursday, November 12. The prospects of being able to move freely at the end of the year remain uncertain, and this vagueness is not to favor an industry which thrives on confidence and anticipation. Beyond family reunions, the stakes for the week following Christmas Eve are real for a handful of regions and operators.

The Parisian hotel industry usually experiences, thanks to foreign tourists, a resurgence in attendance after a very calm month of December (1.9% of annual revenues in the last week of the year, according to the specialist firm MKG). Disneyland Paris is most often refueled during this period, before hibernating after the holidays.

Alsace, led by Strasbourg, is the only region in France where hotels fill up as much in December as in August, at much higher prices. It was the Christmas markets – more than a hundred in the region – that enabled it to double the occupancy rate of its establishments in December, between 1993 and 2018. However, these markets were canceled in the month of October, to the despair of traditional toy makers and confectioners.

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In the mountains, school holidays kick off the winter season and represent, depending on the year, 10% to 15% of attendance. This fortnight is more vital for mid-mountain resorts, which have a shorter season, which attract families. However, since the reconfinement, no more reservations are recorded by the hosts and some cancellations are starting to fall. As of November 12, according to G2A, specialist in mountain tourism, the reservation rate was only 40% for Christmas week and 50% for New Year’s week. A difference of nearly 20 points compared to last winter , which will deepen in the coming weeks, usually a very dynamic period for reservations.

“Generally, the customer who has not come does not come later”, estimates Alexandre Maulin, president of the Domaines skiables de France.

A catch-up could take place at the last minute, provided that the skiers are certain about the reception and transport conditions to get to the resorts. But, in the event of closure at Christmas, the operators do not hope to catch up afterwards: “Usually, the customer who has not come does not come later, says Alexandre Maulin, president of the Domaines skiables de France. There may be a bit of a delay, but people go to the mountains because it’s Christmas, and not necessarily at another time. In addition, the stations are not expandable and there is a problem of availability during the other periods, in particular the winter holidays. “

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