ECONOMY: A shudder that remains fragile due to the return of migratory pressure …
In the tourism sector and economic activity are showing signs of recovery in Calais, an improvement that could be tarnished however by the return of migratory pressure observed recently.
Since the break in October of the “Jungle”, business is gradually distributed to the trade and tourism of the first port in continental Europe has seen in 2016, more than nine million passengers.
Assos and police were turning trade
This first “was complicated because there was a disappearance of the security forces and members of associations: it was not replaced overnight by customers,” says Pierre Nouchi, president of Union trades and hospitality industries (UMIH). “But with the newfound serenity, we see the return of the English, the Belgians and from people in France as well. In the shops, the city of Europe, again we hear the English,” he notes.
Same story for Antoine Ravisse, president of the Great Gathering of Calais, which represents the entire economic world: “actually there are some promising signals, it is on the rise but still fragile”, preferring not imagine new “hot summer” after those of 2015 and 2016 on the migration front.
At the tourist office, it was confirmed this trend, with two recent weekends when accommodations were full. “In 2014, we had 60,000 visitors to the tourist office,” says its director Solange Leclerc. In 2016, when the “Jungle” regularly defrayed the chronicle, the figure had fallen to 39,000. “For 2017, we hope to return to more normal statistical and exceed 45,000,” she said, while the general tourists made it a whopping “10 to 15%” between May 2016 and May 2017.
Concern after death on the highway
But in tourism than in other areas, the wind can quickly turn: after the death on the highway,” people who had planned to come to Calais in July called here to be reassured,” says the director of the tourism office.
For Pascal Martinache, head of regional marketing for mayor, Calais “was not an awareness deficit but image and had to reverse this negative perception.”
In March, the English customers has given a guided tour of major projects such as Calais Port 2015 or the construction of a new waterfront, a trip to the hospital (affiliated to the British health system) and also a passing in front of the former Jungle, located more than five kilometers from the city center.
“We showed them that it was just a wasteland,” says Pierre Nouchi. “Unfortunately, we do not talk of Calais that through these events (related to the migration crisis). I’m not saying it is not important but when in Paris we dismantle a squat of 3,000 people is actually not a whole pataquès, “he observes.