The number of business mistakes is increasing … even when traveling

Thus, the number of procedures increased by 34.6% during the first three months year-on-year, according to the latest report from Altares. This is not a “breaking wave, but rather a harsh return to reality,” the research firm adds. The gradual termination of “Whatever It Costs” and the duration of the crisis cause the most vulnerable to go bankrupt. Not surprisingly, young businesses and small SMEs appear to be the most vulnerable, all sectors combined. B2C activities (trade, catering, etc.) turn out to be particularly affected.

Travel: mature companies fall

What about the travel industry? The number of failing travel agencies increased by 25% in the first quarter of 2022 according to Altares compared to the first quarter of 2021.

“In the travel family, we see 15 errors at travel agencies in the first quarter,” specifies Thierry Millon, director of studies at Altares. Only two are in recovery, the others are in liquidation. In terms of geographical location, four distressed agencies are located in the PACA region, four in Ile-de-France.

Above all, Thierry Millon observes a trend that is specific to the sector and quite worrying: “More than half of the agencies that have fallen are over 20 years old – against only 5 under 5 years old. This is quite impressive, as these mature societies have nevertheless undergone many crises and in theory are more resilient. “For him, this mortality is among the most experienced issues. “Companies in the sector seem to be having a hard time adapting to digitalisation and are facing growing infidelity from travelers. »

APST confirms the trend

To complete this photograph, we interviewed Emmanuel Toromanof, Secretary General of APST. “I confirm an increase in errors that do not significantly affect the Guarantee Fund … at the moment,” he replies. Emmanuel Toromanof will not give figures until he has informed the elected representatives, under the next board of the Guarantee Fund. Nor any details about the profile of the companies that have gone bankrupt. “The most important disaster in terms of the extent of damage is Vivarel,” the Secretary-General continues. Lucien Salemi’s travel agency was established in 1981.

“Overall, the first semester will go well thanks to state support. The second half becomes more difficult, with the resumption of activity (which causes costs, ed. Note) and the PGEs have to be reimbursed. Moreover, the failure of one can lead to the failure of the other. »

By the end of March 2022, France had 6,709 travel and holiday operators registered with Atout France, listed as a former chief operating officer of APST, during the recent Forum for the Syndicat des entreprises du tour-operating (Seto). This represents “a fairly marked decline over a year,” he added.

No government reinsurance … for now

APST gives about 51%, Groupama 31%, Atradius 11%, Unat 4%, specifies Cédric Dugardin, who also returned to Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy. The tour operator’s decline in 2019 represents a loss of 42 million euros, while the reserves then reached 30 million euros. “Overnight, APST went from a thriving and gifted association” to a “ruined” structure. “Thomas Cook fell and the super-insurance contract with Axa was terminated the next day … I think APST is still in a lawsuit with Axa … which will not bring in 42 million euros.”

Despite the shock wave of the pandemic, the tourism industry has thankfully not suffered a major bankruptcy.

Since then, APST, which has not received a euro from the state, has struggled to ensure its survival and an unlimited guarantee despite limited resources. “We proposed a tax on travel (following the model from the Netherlands, editor’s note), we were told that we did not tax during the election period,” revealed Cédric Dugardin.

Waiting for Brussels Go

Last year, a transitional solution was found where the sector had to recover and private reinsurance companies such as Axa resume coverage. This is a public reinsurance system insured by the Caisse centrale de réassurance, planned for two years, ie. until 31 December 2023 (with a guarantee ceiling of 1.5 billion over two years, ie 40 times Thomas Cook). To this end, an amendment to the Finance Bill was tabled on 12 November 2021. A decree; published on 30 December 2021 for implementation on 1eh January 2022.

However, this transitional system has not entered into force as it lacks the green light from the European Commission. “Today 1eh April there is no public reinsurance. So if there is a major bankruptcy in the tourism sector, there is no guarantee coverage. Which could give “small problems”. However, the French state did not receive Go from Brussels, who made two comments, says Emmanuel Toromanof. For Cédric Dugardin, it will now be necessary to wait for the end of the parliamentary elections at the end of June …

This late preliminary deadline “only engages Cédric Dugardin, who spoke in his personal name and not under APST”, nuances Emmanuel Toromanof. APST hopes to have a good surprise in the coming weeks.

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