“Our professions are useful and important for the French economy”

The Union of Hospitality Industries and Enterprises (Umih) and the National Group of Hotel Chains (GNC) wish to contribute to the debate on presidential and legislative elections through a series of proposals presented in the form of a manifesto. Review with the President of the Umi Confederation.

Roland Huey: “We need to ‘oxygenate’ our business. To do this, we are asking for the creation of a fund to support the renovation of our establishments.”

Catering : Presidential elections are coming up. On this occasion, you wrote a manifesto. Can you explain to us what your state of mind is?

Roland Huey: We have just gone through two years of crisis, which we have not digested yet. Our professions have proven to be important for social and cultural life. The sector represents 70 billion euros of turnover in the French economy and 1.2 million jobs. However, we have always suffered from a lack of recognition. Today we are coming out of the sanitary crisis weakened, and the war in Ukraine will definitely affect the economy and tourism. At the same time, we must continue to update our offer, be able to invest, adapt … The clientele is demanding and for two or three years we could not invest in our business; it’s time to do it. The Prime Minister is talking about wagering and rebuilding, but we will be faced with the choice of investing or repaying our loans. We are asking for a breath of fresh air by postponing the PGE refund for a year and stretching its refund over ten years. This is a measure that we consider necessary to overcome the crisis. We see that no one ever mentions tourism in the programs of the main candidates for the presidential elections. We still have to do educational work so that people understand that our professions are useful and necessary for the French economy.

Can you present us this manifesto?

We want to contribute together with the GNC to the debate on future elections, presidential and legislative, by presenting a set of proposals with ambitious, precise and realistic solutions that should be considered as a roadmap for the next five years. We have grouped these proposals under five themes: revitalizing the tourism industry and making it a priority for the French economy, updating and adapting existing offerings for tomorrow’s tourists, oxygenating our business – I mean PGE – training and recruitment, and finally, ecological transition.

What are the priority measures?

We present measures aimed at stimulating tourism by acidifying businesses. We have to get back to basics. This manifesto is a synthesis of all these questions and demands. This is a long process that is carried out by all branch presidents.

Among the measures is the appointment of a Minister of Tourism under Bercy. We saw this during the crisis, we were systematically redirected to Bercy. When the plan for the appointment of France was launched with John Castexwe were in direct contact with the prime minister. Although it’s much easier. Our sector concerns almost all ministers; if we could centralize the priority topics and hand them over to one minister, we would be much more efficient. We are told that we are inevitable, necessary… but we also want to be useful, and for that we need structure. In the tourism chain, we are all interdependent, which we saw clearly during the crisis. Scattering is a standard handicap.

We need to acidify our companies. To do this, we ask for the creation of a fund to support the renovation of our establishments. Even if the economy recovers, it is unacceptable for neighboring countries to regain their advantage. We have such events ahead as the Rugby World Cup and the Olympic Games. We must pull ourselves together.

There is also an important tax component. Transmission should be facilitated, especially among young people. When they want to take over the business, the administrative burden discourages them. We must rehabilitate all this by rethinking the economic plan for the transfer of enterprises.

The other part of our manifesto is about learning: 237,000 industry employees have evaporated during the lockdown. This corresponds to every fourth employee. In order to bring them back, we must attract them. Therefore, it is necessary to create a refresher course – Opco – designed exclusively for players in the tourism industry. We need to go to colleges and high schools and present our work, explain what we do, educate young people, educate them through shorter and more concise teaching. After two years of CFA, the young person must be fully trained.

Finally, we must support companies in the process of ecological, but also digital transition. There are many territories that are having difficulty with fiber. We are very far from mastering innovative solutions compared to some hotel chains, although we should not be on the sidelines.

Among those priority actions, if you had to name just one, what would it be?

The priority measure is the successful creation of the sixth ERP category. [tablissement recevant du public, NDLR], with lighter and more flexible devices. An establishment that accepts fewer than 30 people, including employees, cannot have the same restrictions as an establishment that accepts a hundred. It is necessary to lighten the devices in order to save the taverns. This type of establishment should be able to interest young people and that they can make a living from it. This is a political problem in which we must be ambitious. We live in an age where young professionals want to go home, but devices need to be simplified to do so. This is a measure that will also contribute to the development of our rural communities.

You accurately represent the important section on the countryside. Can you tell us more?

The countryside is a theme that I have believed in for many years and that we have been working on a lot at Umih. We were also behind the initiative to create the Rural Parliament. If we want to preserve the economic structure of France, we need real political will. More than 26,000 villages no longer have cafes. Our businesses are a strong sensor for the local economy and we must be a bulwark against the desertification of our villages. We must mobilize all forces in favor of the village.

#Umi #RolandKhegay

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