By Damon Mitchell • 15 May 2020 • 9:46
IN France the month of May should have been, as usual, a booming time for the Cannes hotel industry. Suites that are negotiated at more than €40,000 per night on the Croisette and occupancy rates that break the ceiling.
But the Covid-19 epidemic and the cancellation of the Cannes Film Festival (€196 million in economic benefits) leaves the city as one of the most damaged in France in terms of tourism.
It is for this reason that the mayor of Cannes participated in the interministerial committee where he revealed the outline of a ‘Marshall Plan’ at a cost of almost €1.5 billion to deal with the crisis. Mayor Lisnard is set to ask for a “widening of the system of holiday vouchers” and for the creation of “a ‘Made In France’ offer specifically intended for establishment committees” (SNCF, EDF, etc.) to relaunch the sector. On Wednesday evening, Lisnard brought together local professionals from the videoconferencing industry to “prepare the recovery plan for this summer.”
It is now an emergency situation. “We only have three hotels which stayed open during confinement for caregivers. These are small structures of around 20 rooms. No other reopening is planned before the government speaks on June 2, clarifying the date of reopening of restaurants and beaches, suggests Christine Welter, the president of the Cannes hotel union. We are in a global ecosystem where everything has to reopen at the same time.
“Some will not recover from it.”
Some 99.5 per cent of the hotels on the French Riviera are closed “and we know very well that some will not recover,” announced Denis Cippolini, the president of the Hotel and Tourism Federation UMIH Nice Côte d’Azur. In the whole of the Alpes-Maritimes, only a handful of establishments whose kitchens can sell take-out were able to remain open.
“The hotel and restaurant industry accounts for 40 per cent of the partial unemployment in our province. We are facing a real disaster,” warns Cippolini.
“Foreigners will not come this summer.”
And the prospects for a possible recovery for the summer months, normally the best of the year, are not really good. “On reservations that were already made before the crisis, we had an avalanche of cancellations,” says Denis Cippolini.
For the month of June, if the reopening takes place, the Riviera hotels expect a maximum occupancy rate of 30 per cent, far from the usual standards. For July and August, it could wait for 50 per cent or 60 per cent “in the best of cases.” Not enough to make up for what has already been lost.
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From the interviewed to the interviewer
As frontman of a rock band Damon used to court the British press, now he lives the quiet life in Spain and seeks to get to the heart of the community, scoring exclusive interviews with ex-pats about their successes and struggles during their new life in the sun.
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