This Tuesday was the first meeting of tourism professionals from the French Riviera, gathered in the Palais de l’Europe at the invitation of the tourist office of the Menton Riviera & Merveilles, led by Marie Garcin-Zaiter.
Objective: to introduce everyone to everyone before the start of the summer season and to be able to discuss their offers and special features. On some thirty stands, a hundred visitors – restaurateurs and hoteliers – from the four corners of the Carf were able to discover all the cultural and recreational riches available on this large territory (among the exhibitors, from Menton to Tende: various stands at Menton Citroen; Menton Casino; Menton Beer; Maison Herbin; the nautical center; the heritage service; Association of Brigasque Traditions and Heritage; Saorge Monastery; Carf; Via Julia; Departmental Museum of Tende; Camina Mangia de Gorbio; Guides du Mercantour; paragliding at Roquebrune- Cap Martin and the Cap Moderne association; Esat, etc., editor’s note).
“We have a very balanced panel of tourist players from Menton, but also from Bévéra and Roya. All of them eagerly await connections and partnerships. This is a real need”, notes Sandrine Gianetti, one of the members in charge of the organization.
But beyond these moments of sharing and discovery, a central question has been the subject of roundtable discussions led by local, departmental and even national tourism professionals: “What are the challenges of tomorrow’s hotel industry?”.
Because it seems that the health crisis has acutely accelerated a social phenomenon that started taking shape two years ago: the hotel and tourism professions are having great difficulty recruiting. If this sector has suffered greatly from the Covid, it will also experience a social revolution that professionals can no longer ignore.
As at the national and regional level, the tourism players on the French Riviera are also facing a recruitment crisis and are confronted with many disadvantages compared to their neighbors in Nice and Cannes.
Explanation with Thomas Laurenti, President of the UMIH (Union of Crafts and Industries of the Hotel Industry, Editor’s Note) Union of the Union of French Riviera and Brice Duthion, Manager of the Tourism Sector on the Southern Campus of the Crafts of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Nice Côte d’Azur.
1. Monegasque League
“The problem that CARF professionals face is competition from Monaco, which is sucking up a large number of applicants” heartbroken Thomas Laurenti. †Salary conditions are better and so are career prospects. They have cheaper fixed-term contracts, tips…”
And to add: “We also need to review unemployment benefits to promote return to work.†
2. The problem of housing for seasonal workers
This is specific to the east of the department, which has long influenced the profession.
Indeed, this problem of the lack of housing on the territory remains important for seasonal workers. Few options, too expensive rents… How discouraging all candidates… and the professionals.
Nevertheless, Thomas Laurenti emphasized the initiative of the town hall of Menton, which has made eight apartments available to professionals this year: “Two restaurateurs have already taken advantage of it for their employees. It was a first and we hope this gesture will be repeated…”
“On the territory of the French Riviera there has been no turnover for a long time” points out Brice Duthion. The profession is struggling in a vulnerable area, but that remains promising.
“We have to reinvent ourselves, because the salary is no longer enough. We have to ask ourselves how we can seduce our future employees and collaborators”, concludes Thomas Laurenti.
The tourism revolution must above all be human
After 2019, 2022 will be an important year for economic recovery and this summer, despite the fact that the Russians and Chinese are not coming, all lights will be green to announce that the season will be exceptional, warns Brice Duthion of the CCI 06.
“Reservations exceed expectations with the strong comeback from Americans, English, Germans, Scandinavians and many European customers” he specifies. The line openings at Nice airport favor these good forecasts.
“But at the same time, the sector is going through a major crisis, the worst it has ever known, especially in the room and floor service and in the kitchen. After the health crisis, we are at the beginning of a social change where employees want to make sense of their actions before they commit.† Work pace, quality of life, work-life balance: these are the main concerns of candidates these days.
“We have to think differently, move from the customer experience to the employee experience, because the first value of tourism is the employee. This tourist revolution must above all be human…” notes the specialist. And if the crisis takes place at a global level, the Côte d’Azur is far from being spared: “We reap what we have not sown. Côte d’Azur professionals have forgotten to ask themselves many questions and today we are witnessing a drought of ideas and concepts.†
Professionals need to reinvent work rhythms, diversify and intensify training, support the retraining of their employees, create new jobs… This is what Brice Duthion calls “corporate HR transformation”.
Promoting catering professions among young people is also one of the objectives of CRT 06 (Regional Committee for Tourism). Emmanuel Ricci presented the new national campaign that will be conducted over two years (10 million euros) in collaboration with the UMIH and Pôle Emploi.