Outdoor accommodation in the Gers: “We have to stay positive”

The essentials After a bad 2020 season, the Gers campsites hope to recover in 2021. Despite the lack of visibility and the closure of certain borders, they remain optimistic and innovative in the face of hygienic conditions.

“A few weeks ago we were more confident, assures Arnold Bil, director of the Talouch campsite in Roquelaure. The spring and summer reservations were still shy, but higher than last year.” The owners of the Gers campsites therefore hoped to leave a very bad 2020 season behind and start this year better.

And then came the variants and with them new restrictions in France and abroad. “Most of our international customers come from Great Britain, Belgium or the Netherlands, says Arnold Bil. But now bans and negative opinions about exits have been sent in these countries.” In France, too, the areas are limited for several weeks. Ending reservations and already leading to cancellations for spring stays.

Campsites open / infrastructure closed

“Campsites have the right to open, which is already good news compared to last year,” remembers Marc Passera, representative of the Outdoor Hotel Union (HPA). We now hope to be able to greet tourists near the May Bridges. “If the Gers facilities, which are often open in April, can open to the public, the restaurants, bars and swimming pools must remain closed.” This is already leading to cancellations, regrets the owner of the Château du Haget in Montesquiou. Customers cannot take advantage of the campsite. ”He therefore fears competition from accommodations with private swimming pools and from outdoor facilities in neighboring departments that benefit from larger tourist attractions.

The outdoor hotel industry is now expecting last minute bookings. “The landscape is always the destination that fills up last,” says Marc Passera. The managers are therefore adapting their processes. “The terms and conditions have been more flexible since last year, says Arnold Bil. Customers pay a small deposit and can cancel up to two days before their stay, which motivates tourists to book.” Reservations are flexible at Camp de Florence in La Romieu. “If tourists can’t come, we recommend extending the dates to autumn or 2022,” says owner Susan Mijnsbergen. Many bookings for 2021 have been postponed from last year.

The Gers companies are therefore preparing their reopening in this complicated context: “Even if we are not visible, we have to be ready, assures Marc Passera. The advantage of our department is that we can integrate our rentals into our parks, whatever space Our mobile homes are equipped and allow strict compliance with health regulations. We have also worked a lot on safety in public areas. “Some have therefore decided to install individual sanitary facilities. “This year we have invested in sanitary modules that we can place at individual locations, announced Susan Mijnsbergen. We have also increased the number of our rental units, which were the most popular accommodation during the Covid-19 period. “

The campsite owners therefore hope to quickly obtain approval to use communal pools. In terms of closed restaurants and bars, some are already planning to offer take-away meals to their customers if they cannot reopen their doors. “We are optimistic that activities will resume with the increase in vaccinations and the measures in place,” says Arnold Bil. We have to remain positive. “