“To bounce back, the industry will need investments”

According to the president of Atream, an investment fund well established in tourism, the current crisis represents an “earthquake”. But the sector has a strong rebound capacity.

The tourist echo: How was Atream born?

Pascal Savary: We created Atream in April 2008, so almost 13 years ago. Our ambition is simple: we want to support operators in the tourism industry over the long term. We want to contribute to the influence of this economy, which weighs nearly 10% of France’s GDP, and generates 2.5 million jobs, in all regions. It is an industry that irrigates other parts of the local economy and creates attractiveness. This is our conviction. Today, we manage nearly 4 billion euros in assets, more than half of which are invested in tourism, in particular alongside large groups – Accor, Club Med, Center Parcs / Pierre & Vacances… – in France and in Northern Europe: Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium.

Investing is not risky, given the current context?

Pascal Savary: We support operators over the long term, including in difficult times, such as the one we have been experiencing for a year. But tourism has already gone through many crises. This is very violent, it’s an earthquake. But we must use it to come out with a common vision, integrating the new issues that matter. Tourism is a supply industry. We must help operators to focus on understanding their customers and their expectations, by investing in the levers that will allow them to control their direct customer relationship. The crisis exit strategy must be defined with them, to maintain the tourist attractiveness of France, which will have to face competition from its European neighbors. In order to bounce back as quickly as possible, the industry will need investments.

I don’t believe the rise of telecommuting will transform business travel.

Will new parameters be taken into account for investors?

Pascal Savary: Whether institutional or private, investors will now have to deal with issues of governance, environmental and societal issues, which will be essential elements for the industry’s recovery. It must be exemplary: it is the leading industry in France, and it must be the engine of this economic recovery. The product will have to adapt to these new expectations. French growth is based on consumption, and the upturn in tourism activity will be preponderant. It is to be hoped that the volumes of vaccines announced for the spring will be very real, to allow a recovery before the summer. Because there will be a very strong rebound, we are convinced of that.

From this summer?

Pascal Savary: For our partners, who are mainly in hosting, we can hope so. Local, and even domestic, tourism will be one of the real trends for 2021. Some of them are recording 25% higher booking levels compared to summer 2020, which was already a good summer. The rebound will first be very strong, before gradually being put in place in a structuring way, for leisure as well as for MICE. I don’t believe the rise of telecommuting will transform business travel. The frustration of not being able to meet “face to face”, as we now say, highlights the fact that it is essential, for companies that want to remain competitive, to exchange directly, to bring together talents, to share information and emotions. Business travel will probably take a little longer to leave than leisure, but I think it will be back by mid-2022.

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