Private output, the tourist guides are trying to “save” their business

Privés de sorties, les guides touristiques tentent de «sauver» leur métier

DIJON | “It is necessary to save this business.” Ruined by the confinement, the guides make fire of any wood to keep the head out of the water : job booster, tours confined, audio clips… But nearly half considering just giving up.

“It’s frustrating, very frustrating,” Marion Adam, guide-lecturer in Burgundy, “has nothing” since the introduction of the confinement, the 17th of march.

So today, rather than accompany tourists among the rows of pinot noir from the Grands Crus, she finds herself working wine, folded in two at the foot of the vines to pick the buds off the superfluous.

“It is to have an income,” she explains.

They are approximately 4 000 guides-speakers, such as Marion Adam, to be without activity. According to the national Federation of guide-interpreters and lecturers (FNGIC), the cumulative losses reach 11.4 million euros since the 1st of march. And this is without counting the very large number of services ordered at the last minute, which may represent half of the visits.

“It is the cata”, confirms Valérie Sutra. Guide-lecturer on the Arcachon basin, she found herself “totally off” at the worst possible moment : “it happens at the end of the winter, our off-season, where there is no cash…”

36 % of guide-lecturers (GC) are employed, according to the FNGIC. But “most” can not touch the part-time unemployment, because the contracts are often signed at the last minute” in the profession, “or even after the mission.”

About 43 % of the GC under the status of self-employed workers, they may benefit from the solidarity fund, within the limit of 1 500 € per month.

“Yes, but after the containment ?” asks Charlotte Fromont, guide specialist of the vineyard of burgundy. “Here, we work a lot with foreigners. We do hope even more for the rest of the year.”

In the basin of Arcachon, Ms. Sutra was “lucky” to have mainly French clients. “But when will come the recovery ?”, wondered does it. “After the déconfinement, will we have the right group of 15-20 people ?”

“Don’t forget about us”

Bénédicte Sire, who organizes tours of Marseille as”artist baladrice”, arises also “a lot of questions about the future”. “I think it’s going to have to reinvent my walks. One of my greatest success, it is the ride in Noailles (popular district of Marseille). We stop to eat in the back courtyard of a grocery store, sitting on bags of rice, which was the charm of this visit. Is this going to be possible respecting the rules of safety ?”.

In the meantime, Bénédicte Sire records texts by jean Giono, Colette, and other authors who talk of Marseille as “capsules” audio released on YouTube, “history of keep in touch with my clients.”

It is also for “keeping the link” that Charlotte Fromont organizes visits confined” with the collective “Guides independent in Burgundy–Franche-Comté”. Starting from an object that everyone has at home, “an egg, a corkscrew, bread”, the guides make videos telling his story.

“It is a way to continue to share because it is in our veins. And it is above all a way of saying: “don’t forget about us+,” explains the guide.

“It had to be that it shows that it is still there,” says Valerie Sutra who makes her garden or her library of videos, making the discovery of his region, the basin of Arcachon, by an artist, a novel, a monument…

“This is not great cinema, but it is a way of preparing for the post-containment. Is it that there will be benefits ? I don’t know…”, she confesses.

Marion Adam, the future draws him as a big question mark.

In mid-July, the work in the vineyards which allows him to stay afloat will end. “And after ?” “I’d like to keep this job that I want to do since I was 16 years old,” says the guide of 30 years. “But I’m not very optimistic about our future.”

According to a study of the FNGIC covering more than 1 200 guides, 45 % of them “do not exclude occupational retraining”.

“However, how to discover a territory without a guide ?”, highlights Charlotte Fromont, for whom this is all a “trade to save”.

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