, le média spécialiste du tourisme francophone

Attacks in Paris: cancellations and collapse of reservations for DMCs

DMCs blame the coup

Tourism professionals in France are recording lots of cancellations and are seeing the rate of reservations collapse since the terrorist attacks in Paris and Saint-Denis, on Friday November 13th. And many are expecting to go through several rough months.

Rédigé par Pierre Coronas translated by Joséphine Foucher le Lundi 23 Novembre 2015

French and foreign tourists are reluctant to reserve stays in France since the terrorist attacks in Paris - DR: Zerophoto -
French and foreign tourists are reluctant to reserve stays in France since the terrorist attacks in Paris - DR: Zerophoto -
With 130 casualties and dozens of severely injured people, the human toll of the terrorist attacks that hit Paris and Saint-Denis on Friday November 13, 2015, was very heavy.

While the state of emergency, immediately ordained by the President of the Republic François Hollande, has been extended for three more month, DMC tourism in France will have some rough weeks ahead.

According to the professionals we were able to speak to, the situation has been very complicated since Saturday, November 14th, 2015.

It is even a “catastrophe” according to a representative of Ring Tour, a DMC based in Paris that offers services to a group and individual clientele both leisure and corporate.

The agency is recording around 60% of cancellations for the two coming months. Which represents a shortfall of 500,000 euros.

Ring Tours works primarily on the German, Austrian, Spanish, Italian, Scandinavian markets. But also in South Africa, Australia, Brazil, USA, and Mexico.

“Providers are playing along”

At Alcep Travel & Events, another DMC in Paris that only manages groups of business travelers “everything has been canceled until the end of the year,” announces Philippe Gombert, Manager.

In total, 6 trips organized by the agency will not take place.

Amongst them, 5 are canceled while another, with a group of 200 people, is postponed for later in 2016.

As for Meeting the French, it is mostly Japanese clients who are canceling their stays this week. “We are recording around 30% of cancellations,” laments Vincent Gretinet, Sales Manager of the DMC.

The cancellation of a field-trip scheduled for December 2015 and of a group stay for 2017 are also losses suffered by France Connection, as explained by a project manager from the Parisian incoming agency.

“Given the circumstances, we are not applying the usual reservation and cancellation conditions and we reimburse 100% of the paid amounts,” adds Vincent Gretinet from Meeting the French.

Same sales policy at Acep Travel & Events. “Providers are playing along. Consequently, we can offer refunds with no extra charge to our clients who cancel,” confirms Philippe Gombert.

However, Vedettes de Paris does not refund potential deposits paid by the clients who cancel. “We provide them with the possibility of postponing, which, for now, has been accepted in all cases,” explains Frédéric Avierinos, Executive Director.

The company is recording “around 50% of cancellations until late November 2015” for its group activity and “between 40% and 50% of cancellations” on the ticketing activity, adds the Executive Director.

“It is going to be rough, at least until January”

The cancellations proportions vary from one company to the other. But, for a very large majority, a dead calm reign in terms of new reservations.

Tourists, whether they are French, Europeans, or coming from further away, are no longer buying stays in France.

“We have to wait for things to calm down and for people to forget. But it is going to be difficult, at least until January. Hoping that in the meantime, we don’t suffer from another dramatic event,” comments Vincent Gretinet, Sales Managers of Meeting the French.

These hardships could even last longer, according to Jean-François Guieu, Director of Solotour, a tour-operator based in Aubagne, in the Bouches-du-Rhône (13):

“Our sales campaign is not yet launched for 2016, but it may be very tough, early 2016, especially for major events that attract a lot of people, like the Nice Carnaval for instance.”

Confirmation at Ring Tour: “We are still recording lots of reservations, like always, but for stays that will take place later in 2016.”

“This is really bad, adds Philippe Gombert of Alcep Travel & Events. But this does not only touch Paris. All of France is affected.”

And to emphasize his statement, he cites the example of one of these groups that decided to cancel a trip planned in Grenoble, Isère (38), in reaction to the attacks in Paris.

The cancellation of the Fête des Lumières is also very bad news

While the province is not spared, the damage seems to be, despite everything, less severe. The maintenance of the Christmas markets of Strasbourg and Colmar specifically, enable Solotour to limit the damage.

Jean-François Guieu, its Director, laments over the cancellation of a group that had planned to participate in France’s Mayors’ Congress, that was also canceled.

Yet, the deprogramming of another event leads to heavier consequences on the company, for which 8 group trips have been canceled: the Fête des Lumières in Lyon. “Thankfully, the majority of providers are playing along and allowing us to cancel at no extra charge,” specifies the Director of Solotour.

Yet, he points to another issue: the forced cancellation of school trips due to the prohibition of school excursions ordained under the state of emergency.

A case that, in this context, refers to an arbitrary decision of the government, a type of force majeure.

We solicited several other incoming travel agencies for the preparation of this article.

But some of them, like Paris City Vision, French Travel Partners, and Voyages Services Plus declined to comment on the topic.

We also requested an interview with Christian Mantei, Executive Director of Atout France, to understand his position and the strategy of the tourism promotion agency following the events. But he has not yet responded.

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