Fear a wave of cancellations, tourism professionals have deemed the isolation measure “catastrophic” for travelers returning from a country outside the European Union, they said in a statement on Friday, regretting not to have been consulted.
This decision, “inefficient sanitary and economically catastrophic”, will push the French to “cancel” their stays and accelerate “the destruction of jobs”, judge the Travel Companies (EDV) and the Union of tour-operating companies (Seto).
“Seven days of isolation will bring nothing”
Thursday, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced the strengthening of health measures. As of Monday, travelers coming from a country outside the European Union will have to take a test before leaving, undertake on the honor to isolate themselves for seven days once they arrive in France, then redo a second PCR test after completion. The PCR test system on departure from the country of origin and on arrival in France “is very safe”, declares Jean-Pierre Mas, president of the EDV, who considers that adding “seven days of isolation will not bring nothing “.
“It calls into question the validity of the tests,” he adds. “As long as you have open borders with third countries in the European Union and these countries do not take the same measures, it is useless”, considers for his part Jean-François Rial, CEO of Voyageurs du Monde and vice-president of Seto. If he welcomes the government’s economic aid, such as the solidarity fund or partial unemployment, he criticizes “the substance” of this measure and “the method”.
“Almost all the calls we have are for cancellations”
Like others, François Rial regrets that tourism professionals were not consulted: “We can accept anything if it is in the general interest, but in this case we discuss”. “I think winter is over, from January to April we will do nothing,” he says. “This is the moment when everyone was building their trip, there it is the end of all the reflection for the trip on February and Easter”, predicts René-Marc Chikli, president of Seto, who judges the “dramatic” measure.
For the winter of 2020-2021, Seto has recorded a 76% drop in overall turnover for its members, and -80% for long-haul departures. Olivier Kervella, CEO of the tour operator NG Travel (Kappa Club, Club Coralia), already says he can see the deterrent effect of the measure. Until now, his company still received “a few reservation requests”, he says, but now “almost all the calls we have are for cancellations.”