The big day is fast approaching and the first reservations are tied to hoteliers, while restaurateurs are still unsure of what to do.
Three weeks before the launch of the Lantern Festival (from December 1 to February 5), while waiting for the expected thousands of visitors, the first trends emerge in terms of impact. Hoteliers and restaurateurs, aware of this rare opportunity during low periods, are preparing for it. Last year, in Blagnac, despite an edition under Covid, hoteliers experienced a 30% increase in the number of customers. Montauban and its outskirts, which offer a total of 1,500 rooms, should do at least as well. At Ibis, which has three hotels, reservations are going well. “We already have about ten groups sent to us from the tourist office and a few families. We are full from December 8 to 10 and every weekend from December 10. We are still waiting for confirmations, but there is a big difference between attendance compared to the same period last year.”
In Bressols, the Sure Hotel, from the Best Western group, also has a few requests, especially for groups, but nothing too transcendent. Same story at Kyriad. “At the moment we have one bus and three others waiting for confirmation,” says the boss, Noémie Tonnelier. At the tourist office we were told that they were overwhelmed with inquiries, but there is no rush, I’m a little disappointed. Fortunately, we are catching up with the traveling professionals, who are more numerous than before.”
“50% of visitors stop in the city”
Among restaurateurs, it is also time for questions. Do you have to hire without knowing if the customers will be there, adjust your schedules and provide more services? The questions fly unanswered before the three lines of the event. Tarn-et-Garonne has 550 cafés, restaurants, hotels, nightclubs and caterers, 50% of which are located in the Grand Montauban area. An offer that can satisfy tourists and visitors, especially since we know in the festival area that there will only be three catering companies for the VIPs and three food trucks.
Co-president of the Union des Métiers de l’Industrie Hôtelière (UMIH 82), Valérie Pons, who is also patron of the Fort restaurant in Montauban, wants to be optimistic. “The festival can accommodate up to 10,000 people a day and we know that historically 50% of visitors stop in the city. You have to be able to offer an offer before the opening and another after. a first edition in Montauban and everything has to be built .”
UMIH sent a questionnaire to its members to find out their capacities and needs and to make these contacts available to visitors. In terms of the workforce, at the center of the postponement, the Pôle emploi and all the services involved have focused on the hotel and restaurant industry. “Thanks to the work done upstream, we have a real pool. 250 people are mobilized and available. We have built tools and everyone is ready,” says Valérie Pons.
Now there are more than…