July 13, 2024


Built General Tough

The Great South map

Will the year 2021 be as difficult for tourism as the year 2020, the year that saw the Covid-19 epidemic disrupt global trade? The question is on everyone’s mind as the good weather looms and therefore the prospect of summer vacation. Global tourism recorded the worst results in its history in 2020, with international arrivals dropping 74% according to the latest data from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Last year, there were a billion fewer international arrivals compared to the previous year, due to an unprecedented collapse in demand and the widespread introduction of travel restrictions. The crisis, far from over, threatens 100 to 120 million direct jobs in tourism, many of them in small and medium-sized enterprises, notes the UNWTO. And the prognosis for a recovery in the situation remains cautious: it will take two and a half to four years for international tourism to return to 2019 levels.

However, the UNWTO survey provides reason for hope: an increase in demand for outdoor and nature tourism activities, but also an increased interest in domestic tourism and travel experiences where people take the time (slow travel).

These last two points are precisely those which allowed Occitanie last year to do well in July and August with increased overnight stays in the countryside and in the mountains (Massif Central and the Pyrenees). Faced with health rules and travel restrictions, the French had indeed stayed in France (re) discovering the charms and strengths of France and sometimes their own region. A situation that could very well happen again this summer.

If the government this week outlined a return to a more normal life “maybe mid-April”There is nothing to say that new restrictions do not come back before the summer, nor that the borders will open a little more. Therefore, favoring holidays in France is therefore perhaps both the safest way to be able to leave and also makes it possible to support tourism professionals hard hit by the crisis.

The Occitanie Region – the leading region for French tourist visits – is actively preparing for it, as is the State with the tourism component of the recovery plan. At a time when the French are wondering whether to book or wait a little longer, they can be sure: they will be welcome in our Great South.