increasingly vulnerable hoteliers and tour operators

In front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, March 12.
In front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, March 12. LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP

" A disaster ! " This is how French tour operators and hoteliers reacted, Thursday, March 12, a few hours after Donald Trump's decision to ban US access to Europeans "For the next thirty days". A measure, he said, intended to limit the spread of Covid-19, described as "Foreign virus". The measure of the American president, criticized by the European Union, will also penalize the tourist activity of his country (11% of international visitors), which has not stopped losing market share for five years. Friday, March 13, Disney announced the closure of its parks in the United States and France, one of the top tourist destinations in Europe.

Faced with the urgency of the situation, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs responsible for tourism, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, was due to receive, on Friday March 13 in the morning, officials of a sector weighing more than 7% of gross domestic product and representing 1.2 million jobs (full-time equivalents). This is a new blow to companies when they are already weakened by the drying up of flows from or to Asia. However, North America and some Latin American countries had become the few distant destinations still accessible. They alone constitute a considerable market for French tour operators, which experienced double-digit growth there.

"This is the worst arrangement for us"

"This is the worst arrangement for us, René-Marc Chikli, president of SETO, the federation of tour operators, bringing together most of the profession, told AFP. It’s a disaster, we wonder what we have left to sell as destinations. " Jean-Pierre Mas, president of Travel Companies (EdV), who represents the agencies of France, judges the situation "Very disturbing", especially for companies that need permanent cash flow.

Read also Closed airports, containment measures … the world is organizing in the face of the pandemic

"If it lasts more than a month, he warns, there will be breakage. " Because there are 180,000 to 200,000 French people per month who go across the Atlantic at this time of the year. Mr. Mas is not fooling against the American president.

"In its decision, there is a more than punitive side economically, I would say racist, against the Europeans and the Chinese," he denounces. As if the virus was going to stop at the borders! "


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here