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Tourists: customer as king or cash cow?

What will tourism be tomorrow? How will we travel? To what destinations? While demand is steadily growing and forecasts are reassuring, a few questions remain and for some it will be difficult to gain more understanding. The tourism industry relies on many exogenous factors that can either favor or destabilize it. We've said it before: demand is growing, but are we really doing everything we can to satisfy it? Where will priorities be placed?

Go higher or go further?

Air transport is one of the cheapest per kilometer, at 3 to 4 cents per passenger, compared to 10 cents for the train and 25 cents for the car. But this situation is likely to change as the sector is subject to increasing constraints. High-performance fuels, for example, cost 40% more than the fuel currently used by airlines. Can we afford these changes? What is the balance between environmental emergency and economic needs? Who should bear the additional costs associated with environmental requirements? Air travel favors long distances, it is much less expensive to travel Paris/New York than within Europe, which does not encourage our destinations.

Driving, whether diesel, petrol or hybrid, offers incomparable freedom and ease of movement. It is possible to decide to leave at the last minute and throw a bag in the trunk. This is inconceivable with trains or planes because yield management leads to exorbitant prices for last minute departures, for those lucky enough to find a place....  Care must be taken to ensure that the changes needed to respect the commitments made in favor of our beautiful planet... do not become a burden to the same people. The yellow vest crisis in France began after the government decided to increase the carbon tax, targeting all households that use fossil fuels. It is important to learn from past mistakes.  Putting a bandage on a wooden leg has never cured anyone.

Where will tourists of tomorrow go?

It is obvious that the environmental emergency is real. Some destinations may be wiped off the map in the not too distant future or be deserted by tourists because of too many heat waves. In the decades to come, could Brittany and Normandy as well as northern Europe become holiday destinations to the detriment of the Côte d'Azur and the entire Mediterranean region. For now, it is the north that feeds tourism in southern Europe, and it is not certain that the opposite is possible. 
What will remain of winter sports, which represent an economic windfall for mountain destinations which have very few visitors in summer? Until then, it is essential to anticipate. How can the last few kilometers be covered at affordable prices and under reasonable conditions? Which technologies should be preferred?

It is important to band together in the face of this...

Tourist destinations are totally dependent on the transportation that serves them: air, rail, road, water... if all roads lead to Rome, they must also be accessible and affordable by car. If tourism is to flourish in France and Europe, we must continue to make travel ever more affordable, as has been the case over the past 40 years with the development of competition in transport and the new alternatives. One thing is certain, making a destination less competitive through taxes and other measures will not sustainably address the real problems. If the tourist is king for professionals, this is not the case for destinations which delight in counting them in the millions and taxing them, but rarely implement actions that promote their reception. These tourists have no say; they are rather seen as cash cows. Unfortunately, this also impacts the professionals who earn their living through them. Hoteliers must be able to make their voices heard at this crucial time when many decisions will be taken that will have a lasting impact on their business.

Great Britain has announced massive investments and partnerships to build 130,000 new rooms by 2025, whereas the current supply is 775,000. It is no less than the Prime Minister's department that is announcing these measures, underlining the importance given to this sector in the United Kingdom.

In France, the Gilets Jaunes crisis has had a disastrous impact on high-end clientele. All shopkeepers know this: it is very costly to regain a client, so everything must be done to keep them. In order to save our industry and its prosperity, we will climb mountains, be ingenious, inventive and collaborate. A wonderful challenge but one that we will be unable to meet if we prepare for it with empty actions. It is not only about our prosperity, and especially that of mature destinations, some of which are increasingly saturated, but also about the future of humanity on this beautiful blue planet that gives us so much and from which we take so much more.

Happy summer to vacationers and all our dear readers!


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