Goodbye holidays in Martinique or the Dominican Republic! Friday evening, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that any entry or exit from our territory to a country outside the European Union (EU) is prohibited from this Sunday “except for compelling reasons”. Same restriction for the French overseas departments and territories.
“We were already down to one knee, but this is another blow to the head,” regrets Jean-Pierre Mas, the president of travel companies, a union which brings together 3,500 agencies and tour operators, employing 32,000 employees.
The countries of the European area (i.e. those of the European Union plus Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, the Vatican and Switzerland) remain accessible but a PCR test is required. now required for everyone except cross-border workers and truck drivers. “Why would the test valid for going to Greece be less valid for going to the Antilles or the Dominican Republic?” », Reacts Jean-Pierre Mas.
In the West Indies, commercial accommodation has fallen by 70%
Since the end of the year, it is indeed these sunny destinations, with few health constraints, that have maintained a semblance of activity for the tourism sector. “Without recovering the levels of last year, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Costa Rica, Seychelles, Maldives, the West Indies were doing well, notes Jean-Pierre Mas. And out of 40,000 tourists in Guadeloupe at Christmas, there was no case of Covid. “
Same concern on the part of Didier Arino, the director of the specialist research firm Protourism. “For these winter holidays, six times fewer French people planned to go abroad or to the French overseas departments and territories: 500,000 against 3 million usually, notes the specialist. The impact of the new announcements will be catastrophic, especially for the already weakened Antilles, which see hotels close and turn into apartments with each crisis. Before the requirement of the “compelling reason”, the imposition of the test and the septaine had already made drop the reservations of commercial lodging there by 70%.
And the list of “compelling reasons”, unveiled last night, restricts travel to health, family or professional obligations, as well as to return to the country of residence or origin. Contacted, Aéroports de Paris estimated this Saturday “difficult to give an estimate of the impact of these measures on its traffic”.
At Air France, where the current lines already represent only 45% of normal activity, it is also announced that it is still “a little early” to know if these measures will have an impact on flight schedules. “But we will adapt,” explains a spokesperson. Many countries already have restrictions in place, we will check the documents upon boarding as requested by the authorities. “
Will travelers unable to travel be reimbursed? “The terms will soon be specified but during this Covid crisis, the trade policy has always been particularly flexible and flexible,” recalls the French company.