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Marseille, a land of conclave for French tourism professionals



           


French tourism officials met in conclave in Marseille for a weekend (photo: F.Dubessy)
French tourism officials met in conclave in Marseille for a weekend (photo: F.Dubessy)
FRANCE. They all had to see each other, as they do every year, at DITEX. Their exhibition was scheduled for March 2020 at the Palais du Pharo in Marseille and had first had to be postponed in July because of measures to combat Covid-19, then finally postponed until March 2021. Without waiting for this date, which is still hypothetical, the professionals of tourism met at the call of our fellow-member TourMag.com from 23rd to 25th October 2020 in Marseille.

"Le Voyage des Patrons has been taking place once a year, generally abroad, for sixteen years", explains Jean Da Luz, director of this reference site for tourism professionals. "It is the meeting between the main players in the tourism industry: travel agents, bosses of travel agent networks, tour operators, coach operators, and rental companies. This representation of the profession meets every year and discusses the problems of each other. Talking to each other is already better than staying isolated in your own corner", he continues.

Except that this year there is no question of organising a long and beautiful trip. It was necessary to play local and the "Voyage des Patrons" became the "Conclave des Patrons du Tourisme" in partnership with the Marseille Tourist and Convention Bureau and Avis. The twenty-four participants were thus able to visit various emblematic places of the Phoenician city during the day and then, every evening, cooped up in their big Marseille hotel, curfew obliging, they exchanged during long meals. On the menu of their talks were questions as essential as existential about the current situation, the prospects and risks for their companies, the hypotheses for the evolution and the end of the crisis. For greater serenity and to facilitate the discussion, the meetings were held behind closed doors.



"A lack of visibility and legibility"

Jean Da Luz, boss of TourMag.com, fears a blank year for tourism professionals (photo: F.Dubessy)
Jean Da Luz, boss of TourMag.com, fears a blank year for tourism professionals (photo: F.Dubessy)
However, econostrum.info met several of the main protagonists of this event on the evening of their arrival. And first of all, its organiser Jean Da Luz. "Today, we have a lack of visibility and legibility on the future of the profession, which could well experience a blank year in terms of business", notes the TourMag.com boss. "Despite the State aid, we'll have to go to the cash register with a revival of the turnover which will be very progressive, whereas the loans will have to be repaid and the charges will come. In addition, "in twelve months time, when travel agencies will have to reimburse their assets to customers they couldn't take to replace their trips cancelled during the last eighteen months, they are causing suffering. Agencies live off these down payments, because the travel agent profession is one that traditionally does not have a lot of equity".

Maxime Tissot is sorry "to receive only an average of eighty people a day instead of the usual 1,200" at the Marseille Tourist and Convention Bureau which he manages. He even had to cancel the communication campaign planned in partnership with the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Regional Council for the All Saints' Day holidays. "We really have a feeling of closure with the succession of national and international advertisements," he stresses. "Congresses and conventions, like cruises, are at a standstill. We're facing a disparity in competition and that worries us. Trade fairs that traditionally took place in Marseille and other major French cities, particularly in B to B, are perhaps going to change countries. All the States help the tourist sector, because this sector creates employment for people of all social stature and proves to be a formidable social lift. A cleaning lady can end up as a housekeeper."

The director of the Marseille Tourist Office explains that "before the organisers were afraid that their clients or employees would catch the Covid-19. Today, their fear goes further: they know that their event has a 95% chance of being cancelled".

 

Antigenic tests should give travellers confidence

Maxime Tissot, director of the Marseillle Tourist and Convention Bureau says he is ready for a revival of tourism (photo: F.Dubessy)
Maxime Tissot, director of the Marseillle Tourist and Convention Bureau says he is ready for a revival of tourism (photo: F.Dubessy)



Frédéric Dubessy


Monday, October 26th 2020



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