Calendar of school holidays: “Being able to anticipate above all benefits the consumer”

School holiday calendar: what are the challenges for tourism stakeholders and what do they want? Adobe Stock

INTERVIEW – The dates of the school holidays for the next three years have just been revealed. A relief for the tourist sector which was waiting for them on a firm footing. Jean-Virgile Crance, President of the Confederation of Tourism Actors (CAT), discusses the issues with us.

For parents as well as tourism stakeholders, the school holiday calendar is eagerly awaited each year. It allows some to anticipate their next stays, others to have visibility on the tourist offer to be developed. It is up to the Minister of National Education alone to issue the decree defining these dates. But, for 2023/2024, they were slow to be fixed, to the chagrin of the Confederation of Tourism Actors (CAT), which brings together 14 professional organizations in the sector (hotels, restaurants, river owners, ski areas, etc.). This Thursday, December 8, the decree setting the school calendar for the years 2023-2024, 2024-2025 and 2025-2026 was finally published in the Official Journal. Jean-Virgile Crance, the new president of the CAT, explains to the Figaro issues of this publication.

LE FIGARO. – The dates of the school holidays are finally announced. So are you relieved?

Jean-Virgile CRANCE. – Yes. We are happy to have been listened to. The job was done and it was time. The tourism industry is 8% of GDP and more than 2 million jobs on which school calendar choices necessarily have an impact. But in the end, this subject is surely the good example that our activity is interdepartmental. Political choices require taking into account the transversality of the subject, so this is a good example.

What were your demands?

As tourism stakeholders, we have insisted that summer vacation maintain an eight-week basis. The start of the school year is Monday, September 4, 2023, which is a very good thing. If the choice had fallen on a Thursday or a Friday, it is obvious that we lost this last week, knowing that very often, the first and last weeks of school holidays are more accessible periods in terms of prices. for travellers. We also wanted to maintain the spread of the February and spring holidays over four weeks and to save the May long weekends for the year 2023. This is also a positive point. Bridges are an indicator of a good (or less good) tourist season to come and they have a significant impact on our activities, in particular on tourist and coastal destinations.

President of the National Group of Hotel Chains (GNC) and Director of Institutional Relations for Louvre Hotels Group, Jean-Virgile Crance took over the presidency of the Confederation of Tourism Actors (CAT) in mid-September 2022. Press picture

The final calendar, however, is up to the Minister of National Education alone. How do you work upstream?

Today, there is real interdepartmental work with arbitration that takes both parties into account, that is to say both the teaching and economic worlds. We met the cabinets of Pap Ndiaye (Minister of National Education and Youth, editor’s note) and Olivia Grégoire (Minister Delegate in charge of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Trade, Crafts and Tourism, Editor’s note), several times on the subject and we have been very insistent lately because we did not see any dates coming out. The first echoes were not necessarily going in the right direction, especially on the first day of school. This point really has a significant effect on our economy.

The calendar has been unveiled until 2025-2026. What is the point of having it three years in advance?

This is an asset because it allows you to anticipate a certain number of travel types, such as organized group travel, which has presales open well in advance. This is part of the demands on which we have been heard. Once again, the interdepartmental arbitration has taken into account the impact that this had on the tourism sector and therefore the economic impact that its choices could have.

In the end, will consumers therefore be able to pay less for their holidays?

Yes and it is important. Today, anticipating a trip above all benefits the consumer. You can access better rates by preserving, for example, the eight weeks of vacation spread over the summer. If we reduce the tourist period, we will concentrate the summer visitors over a shorter period on the same destination. And therefore the game of supply and demand will be more in favor of professionals, less in favor of the holidaymaker.

Calendar of school holidays: “Being able to anticipate above all benefits the consumer”