the essential Travel resumed at a frantic pace this summer, to the greater economic delight of specialized agencies. The strikes have somewhat dampened their enthusiasm, not the envy of travellers.
“Voyage, voyage”: Desireless's song, more topical than ever, encourages people to leave far from the Lot, to get a change of scenery, get away from it all and not leave their desire to leave or their suitcase at home. Lot travel agencies are experiencing an unusual situation. Unpublished even.
Each agrees that “the situation has clearly relaxed after the end, in part, of the health crisis. Reservations have restarted very strongly to all destinations. Then the war in Ukraine and now the risk of strikes in airports and train stations are hampering the enthusiasm of many travellers.
“We were on a drip for two years”
Stéphane Mondin, director of the travel agency Jet Evasion Tourisme in Cahors, sums up perfectly in one sentence the feeling that prevails among professional tour operators and travellers. “We are going to live a summer under pressure, but the Lotois have a great desire to leave, despite some difficulties linked to the strikes, sometimes. They come to the agency to ask us for advice and make their decision. »
Stéphane Mondin recognizes difficult times that he hopes not to relive. “You could say that we were on a drip for two years. We were able to open, of course, but then we were forced to close. Last summer, we almost only sold trips to France or to Spain, Italy and Portugal too. There, everything really started up again very strongly, because big destinations like the United States have reopened. It changed the situation. Canada too. In short, long haul except to Asia, Russia and Ukraine of course” observes the tour operator from Cahors.
The winning destinations for this summer 2022
“The people of Lot traveled very little during these two years. So the need is intense. The first reservations were recorded in March 2022 and the desire is so strong that we are even currently registering trips for the fall and the end-of-year holiday period,” rejoices Stéphane Mondin.
The big winners of the summer are: Greece and the Greek islands, the Balearic Islands, the Canaries, then the regions of France, Spain, Italy, local destinations.
Fears of cancellations all the same, for lack of staff
“The strikes of recent days have given rise to some fears, but not panic. We will see. Air travel could be a concern due to staff shortages. But it's like everywhere. Like in restaurants. Except that in a plane, if the staff is lacking, there will be no flight. The companies are working on just-in-time basis. The risk is there. There is also a lack of control and security personnel at the airports. ADP (Aéroports de Paris) were alarmed for these reasons. So, suddenly, the controls take longer, flights are canceled, we find fewer. Trained interim staff are slower, so time is wasted. But people are not backing down. It can be complicated, but they are leaving,” insists Stéphane Mondin.
Significant increase in airfares
“There are more requests than offers and therefore air prices are exploding. We must also consider the increase in fuel prices. Flights cost more,” adds the tour operator.
Longer-term reservations reassure him. The world of travel has seen much better times, yes, but the worst seems behind like the white trail left by an airplane that gradually disappears into the sky. Stéphane Mondin and his colleagues would like to have an even clearer horizon to see things more clearly this summer.
Cruises: summer bargains
No hesitation for Stéphane Mondin, in Cahors, when we questioned him at his agency Jet Evasion Tourisme, where he officiated this Friday with Maëlys: The good plan for the summer is the cruise.
“There are great rates. The costs are very limited. I'm selling a lot of cruises this summer. The reception of young people under 18 is free in the parents' cabin. In terms of comfort, hotels and restaurants, cruising is a very good product. It costs much less than a stay in the Balearic Islands or Tunisia, for example. I still find availability for cruises this summer. These are the rare opportunities that remain in “last minute” departures, he assures us.