Are the reassuring hypotheses on the harmfulness of the Omicron variant coming too late for those traveling? With the approach of the end of year holidays, they appear, in the tourist world, as the main losers in the wind of panic of recent weeks. Despite pleas from international organizations, tourism and health, many countries, including France, have put regulatory brakes on travel, with an immediate effect on activity.
The Travel Companies (EDV) stress that the level of reservations, since the end of November, has fallen to 30% of what it was in 2019. To this must be added the massive cancellations, since the beginning of December, on three destinations, which represent, in total, a third of the volume of winter holidays abroad: Morocco and Mauritius, temporarily made difficult to access, and the West Indies, where social protest is not weakening.
The fifth wave in France and the restrictions announced by the government on Monday, December 6, also made the kindling of reception organizers at the end of the year. Banquets of associations, business seminars, family reunions: cancellations are raining for “Festive and convivial events in the professional and private spheres”, designated, by Jean Castex, as presenting “The highest risk of contamination”. At the end of November, Elisabeth Borne’s announcements on end-of-year bribes in companies had triggered the first cancellations and a drop in business trips.
“It settles down, but there is no runaway”
The general climate is, however, incomparable with that of winter 2020-2021, when France was emerging from a second murderous wave and still awaiting vaccine doses. The sector is not suffering from massive cancellations, whether in the mountains or in Parisian tourism, but rather a decline in autumn enthusiasm.
This is particularly the case in Strasbourg and Lyon, where reservations linked, respectively, to the Christmas market and the Festival of Lights have slowed sharply for a week, notes the hotel analysis firm MKG. “In Paris, there was a great dynamic, notes Vanguélis Panayotis, director of MKG. It settles down, but there is no runaway. We know where we set foot, we live with the virus. The only subject is the Americans and the cancellation of events in hotels. ” The recommendation by US health officials to avoid travel to France could deter some transatlantic travel around the New Year.
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Covid-19: facing the fifth wave, tourism players affected in a disparate manner