Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

French strikes damaging for Paris on-trade, says leading Champagne brand

Published:  13 December, 2019

The ongoing nationwide French strikes, combined with declining tourist numbers, are causing misery for Paris' restaurant and bar sector, according to Champagne Palmer's communication manager Francois Demouy.

“The end of 2018 was quite terrible - France's tourism sector took a hit from Yellow Vest violence last year and several clients (hotels and restaurants) have lost between 20 and 30 percent of their turnover,” said Demouy.

“Paris is not a destination of choice anymore for foreign visitors and we've seen a decline in on-trade activities.”

The most recent strikes started on 5 December and may continue until Christmas, crippling transport networks across France – particularly in the capital, Paris.

In addition, Eurostar has been forced to cancel many rail services from London to Paris in December, exacerbating the damage done to Paris' tourism industry following the Gilets Jaunes protests.

However, Charles Philipponnat told Harpers that thus far, the demonstrators were not emulating the behaviour of the Gilets Jaunes.

“The Paris subway and all train lines, including TGV, have been paralysed by about 80 percent,” said Philipponnat.

“However, these protests are led by the traditional, institutional trade unions. The strikes and demonstrations are mostly orderly, a far cry from the Yellow Vests' uncontrolled actions.”

He admitted that there could be damage to on-trade revenues and that the strikes were contributing to “the overall bad mood, which may somehow reduce the consumption of luxury goods.”

According to Philipponnant, there is another big demonstration being organised by the trade unions, which will take place on December 17th.

However, he hoped that the situation would be resolved before January 2020.

“The government is now sending signals of flexibility, and negotiations will reopen, whatever the unions say.

“My feeling is that only the sectors with a special, favourable retirement scheme will continue on strike, and gradually return to work within a few weeks. However, rail networks will remain disrupted at least until the end of the year.”

Nevertheless, with transport disruption likely to occur into the beginning of 2020, and the spectre of mass demonstrations across Paris' key landmarks, the on-trade is bracing itself for a challenging festive season.