“Passenger transport has come to the end of a logic of mass and tense flows”

Ah, what had not been predicted, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic! There was no shortage of good experts to ensure that travelers, who had finally become reasonable, would refrain from the great escape and replicate themselves on less exotic destinations. Already, an icy wind from Sweden, called the “flight shaming”, been blowing for a few years: shame on those who fly! Environmental crisis and health crisis were to reinforce each other to curb the need for travel, renamed “mobility” in modern sabir.

The crush in many airports, deprived of ground staff (security, luggage, etc.) who lost or left their jobs during the suspension of air transport, belies the prophets of the “next world”. Augustin de Romanet, CEO of Groupe ADP, believes that “the recovery will be stronger than expected”. Traffic would even have returned to its 2019 level if China did not confine its population. The boss of Airbus, Guillaume Faury, is proud: he will accelerate the production rate of the A320 and go from 50 to 75 planes per month in 2024 to honor his 7,000 orders. And that of the SNCF, Jean-Pierre Farandou, recorded in July-August the sale of 10% more TGV tickets than three years ago.

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The sometimes faulty logistics show, however, that passenger transport has come to the end of a logic of mass and just-in-time flows, initiated in the 1970s, just like the transport of manufactured products and raw materials. But whatever ! He remains driven by an irrepressible desire for movement and elsewhere. The pandemic woke him up, resulting in what Alain Krakovitch, boss of the TGV and Intercités de la SNCF, describes as “revenge trip”.

An “unloved and poorly governed” sector

Because the plane, the train and the car are only one link in the leisure chain. “Holidays, trips, shows, brasseries and restaurants are essential but fragile activities, with an uncertain economy, notes the sociologist Jean Viard in the preamble to The year zero of tourism. Thinking about the future after the Great Pandemic, written with David Medioni (Jean Jaurès-L’Aube Foundation, 168 pages, 17 euros). This unloved and poorly governed sector must now be seen for what it is: the heart of social ties, and a major engine of the economy. »

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Tourism, finished Jean Viard, “must be a policy” integrating its various dimensions (economic, cultural, environmental) and driven by “a large ministry of culture, holidays, travel and urban life”. In May, discovering the composition of the first government of Elisabeth Borne, the leaders of the sector (8% of the national wealth) remained prohibited: it did not have a ministry of transport, nor the most modest secretary of State for tourism. It’s never too late.

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