The essentials This year, most of the French skipped the winter holidays for health reasons. What about summer vacation? Can we already book? La Dépêche du Midi takes stock of Jean-Pierre Mas, President of Travel Companies.
In the world before, the French took a break, especially during the summer holidays. The 2019 summer season alone depleted 40% of reservations. But since the health crisis began, the French have been more cautious about reservations. So should you book now? Go to France or abroad? Answers with Jean-Pierre Mas, President of Travel Companies.
Should we book now or prefer last minute bookings?
Since January 31, 2021, any entry into France and any exit from the territory to or from a country outside the European area has been prohibited unless there is a compelling reason. All journeys are permitted in Europe, but are not recommended until further notice.
With a view to improving by the summer, Jean-Pierre Mas is reassuring: “We can book immediately. There will be no price difference as they are already low. Even at the last minute prices will not change.”
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On the train side, the best deals are made as soon as the “summer vacation” sales open. This year the campaign for departures in July and August starts on March 30th. For those who want to leave in mid-June, the tickets are already online. Air travel prices have never been so low, according to the President of Travel Companies. Last advice: it is better to book your flights Tuesday through Thursday.
Preferred trips organized by a specialist?
There are several solutions to organize your vacation: go to a travel agent, consult an online professional, or organize your vacation yourself by booking your own. Jean-Pierre Mas advises an agency: “In case of cancellation, we can go to the place and the agent will be responsible for our trip.” If we go through an online agency, we certainly have to go through the customer service that is at the moment is revised. For the tourism professional, organizing his trip alone is a risk; there is no protection in the event of cancellation.
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Go to France or abroad?
For Jean-Pierre Mas, “the French stayed in France in 2020, so they want some fresh air abroad this summer.” The Toulouseain would like to be reassuring: “There is little chance that a country will be closed.” If you want to organize your vacation today, it is safer to do it for a trip to Europe. Note that since the beginning of the health crisis, Dubai, Tanzania and Kenya have been the only destinations that have remained open and have not changed their entry requirements.
More than 50 destinations can be reached from the airports of our European neighbors.
What recourse in case of cancellation?
If you are forced to cancel your trip due to illness, “you must have taken out insurance from the tour operator, without this insurance there is no compensation,” sang Jean-Pierre Mas, home insurance or certain bank cards are not enough. And in the event of a reconnection or border closure in your holiday country, it is “up to the tour operator to reimburse you for the costs”. When booking a hotel yourself it can be difficult to get a refund while “the agencies can put pressure on hoteliers”.
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Since the beginning of the pandemic, the SNCF has offered the refund or exchange of tickets. And if you planned to fly and the airline cancels your flight, you have the right to request a refund.
What about a health pass?
Jean-Pierre Mas “regularly exchanges ideas with Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, the State Secretary responsible for Tourism and Government, about the introduction of a health passport. This is the solution!” Why set up this pass? “The conditions for entering an area vary. You need to have a tool that allows you to comply with the regulations in the country and check that the regulations are being met at the point of arrival. And you can do it quickly.”