They still can’t believe it, but the shooting window is there. After weeks of government procrastination, in connection with the relentless volatility of the figures for the Covid-19 epidemic, it would seem that the hexagon will not be reconfigured for some time. The French therefore realized that they could leave in February.
For about ten days, last minute reservations with SNCF or bus companies have been going well, while this Friday February 12 begins. school holidays in zone C (Île-de-France, Toulouse and Montpellier academies).
According to France Info, SNCF sold some 800,000 train tickets over the period, almost as many as in 2019 (1 million) when the health crisis had not yet immobilized the whole of France. Asked about RCF radio this Friday, the Secretary of State in charge of Tourism, French people living abroad and the Francophonie, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, confirmed that it is “possible to leave, but it is important to maintain barrier gestures and to protect oneself ”.
Still a lot less vacationers than usual
For its part, the operator Flixbus has observed an average increase of 50% in its reservations since February 4. Encouraging figures which should not be enough to put a smile on the faces of tourism professionals. According to the latest Odoxa Backbone Consulting survey for France Info and Le Figaro, even if some let themselves be tempted at the last minute, 87% of French people give up or intend to give up going on winter holidays.
And on these holiday enthusiasts, the trend is largely towards the sea compared to the mountains where the ski lifts are still closed. According to the carriers interviewed by France Info, three quarters of TGV travelers will go to the South-East or to the Atlantic coast. For Flixbus, which targets more a young audience, it is the journeys of less than 300 kilometers that work best, with Paris-Rouen and Grenoble-Lyon in the lead.
International flights at half mast
On the air transport side, there is a slight increase in domestic flights, unlike long-haul flights where cancellations are more frequent than new bookings. With border restrictions and the obligation of a negative PCR test on return, these February holidays should be Franco-French.
This rebound in bookings can also be seen in accommodation. The From person to person site has observed 4.2 times more bookings since February 1 compared to January, reports BFM TV.
Half the number of reservations in the mountains this year
February in the Alps, it is normally a lot of people in the stations and traffic jams on the roads. Not this year. This is not what we saw last weekend, and probably not what we will see this Saturday. With a 6 p.m. curfew, no ski lift or restaurant, and the threat of re-containment, reservations for the mountain are down 50% compared to 2020 over the period. Even if customer behavior is changing. “Each government announcement skyrockets or increases calls. At Christmas, we gained 10% just with last-minute demand,” explain the professionals.
For all the massifs, the accommodations were, at the start of these holidays, two-thirds empty. It’s better than Christmas (25%), but half less than in 2020 over these four weeks, which account for a large third of winter sports activity. The situation varies from 15% reservations in large high-altitude estates to 50% occupancy in charming resorts, where the village character, the diversification of activities or the high proportion of second homes are in line with current demand. The sharp drop in demand also favors an offer at discounted prices from hosts, up to -30 to -40%, unprecedented in February. What convince those who still hesitate.
Source: A la Une – Le Progrès | Le Progrès by www.leprogres.fr.
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