CÔTE D'AZUR & PROVENCE
The city of Cannes, and most notably, its unwavering mayor, David Lisnard, have been working non-stop to fight for the livelihood of the community, not only for the health and safety of people, but also the survival of their businesses. Together with the tourism board of the Côte d'Azur, the city has prepared an extensive and creative tourism recovery plan!
"It's May 18th and we still don't have a protocol for bars, hotels and restaurants, it's crazy!”
It is with this statement that David Lisnard, Mayor of Cannes, opened a video press conference on Monday, 18 May to present a thorough and virus-proof tourism recovery plan for the city and it’s businesses.
The action plan allocates 13.4 million euros to relaunch the destination Cannes in complete safety, around two main axes: emergency aid up to 10.1 million euros for entrepreneurs, employees and seasonal workers to ensure the survival of the local economy, including 2 million euros of exemptions. 3.3 million euros will flow into national and international publicity campaigns to revive local tourism.
David Lisnard knows full well that a solid recovery plan can’t be limited to aid – it must be multi-faceted: "we must be realistic, aid is necessary, but nothing can replace a customer,” he said. Indeed, the balance sheet is chilling... the Palais des Festivals et Congrès, the strong arm of the tourism destination, has experienced “zéro activité” - a total and brutal halt in its activities due to the cancellations of MIPIM, MIPTV, Cannes Film Festival, Cannes Lions, and the latest, the Tax-Free World. The financial losses are staggering. Just for the period of March to May, the Palais has recorded a loss of nearly 289.8 million euros. And there will be no possibility of other events over the summer.
When adding in the shutdown of the hotels, restaurants and beach activities, it is estimated that the economic losses in Cannes from March to April amount to at least 500 million euros; a projected loss of 700 million euros for May to June and an additional 400 million euros for the remainder of the season. With his city facing a loss of over 1 billion euros, Mr Lisnard has grave concern for the future of his citizens. "This as an economic and social disaster that is bound to lead us to a human disaster," said Lisnard, adding: "we have been fighting against since the end of February".
Indeed, since the beginning of the crisis, the city of Cannes has been at the forefront, swiftly responding to the urgency of companies and businesses thanks to measures in favour of beach owners, kiosks, hotels, shopkeepers, fishermen, cultural associations, etc. You can read the mayor's initial appeal to the government for a Marshall Plan for tourism here and his #HelpCommerce initiative to keep local shops going, here.
Cannes: our end of the world
It is with the oxymoron of "local exoticism" that the Mayor unveiled the actions for the end of May, starting with campaigns to promote the area, the idea being "to invite the people of Cannes and more broadly the people of the Côte d'Azur and the French to discover or rediscover their city".
Thus, in support of Cannes' businesses, the call is for "local consumption" among craftsmen and shops. The entire city-centre has become pedestrian-only to allow extra space for shoppers and strollers and to provide extra room for socially distanced tables on patios. A citywide Happy Hour in bars and restaurants will be held throughout the city from 6 pm to 8 pm every evening during the summer. Parking fees have been eliminated for 18,000 spots in the streets of Cannes and La Bocca until the 1st of July and the eight city-operated car parks (Palais, Suquet Forville, Laubeuf, Ferrage Meynadier, Vauban, République, Lamy and Roseraie) offer each vehicle 2 hours free during the week and three hours each weekend.
Reinventing summer events
Cannes invites you to numerous events that represent an alternative to the usual summer program, which will work despite distance and hygiene rules.
In May, a drive-in cinema in the Palm Beach car park from 20 - 24 May has already been sold out (in just two hours!). More of these will be announced.
June will see Cannes as an open-air museum with the "Cannes refait le mur" with huge images on the walls of buildings, as they do during the film festival (June 21 - August 31); There will be a photo exhibition along the Croisette with pictures by the well-known photographer, Nikos Aliagas (June 26 - August 31).
The Pyrotechnic festival has been cancelled, but July & August will still have a Light show - buildings such as the Palais des Festivals, the city hall, and others in Forville and the Suquet will be illuminated in the evenings with colourful images. The Plage Electrique festival held on the beach will transform into a “drive-in electro”. For the first time in France, American painter Kehinde Wiley will exhibit at Malmaison (July 10th - November 1st). “Terrace on air” is a program of music, dance and theatre readings on the terrace of the Palais des Festivals.
And to wrap it all up, a mega show in September with a synchronised drone display, like we recently saw in Shanghai.
Book a ‘Staycation’
"Why not instead of flying to Thailand this time, spend a few days in a luxury hotel on the Croisette and rediscover your home?" Mayor Lisnard proposes the idea of “l’exotisme cannois” with several incentives to book a ‘staycation’ at local hotels. The city has arranged with local hotels to offer the fourth night when three nights are booked (for the first 5,000 reservations) and numerous tourism packages are on offer, including spa deals, family offers, unusual and exotic leisure experiences or walks with local Greeters - ambassadors of the Côte d'Azur.
With the Palais, business tourism is one of the biggest sources of revenue for the city. Therefore it was important to include a recovery plan for business tourism as well. Knowing that large events will be prohibited throughout the summer season, a plan is in the works for the start of autumn. This includes a poster and media campaign from October to December 2020 in France and numerous European capitals.
Along with many hashtags presented during this crisis, including #cannesrépart, #helpcommerce and #restonouvert, the city of Cannes welcomes locals and visitors alike to share your most beautiful images and memories with the hashtag #CannesNow.
Convinced more than ever that exoticism is within reach and that with beauty the Côte d’Azur has to offer, a 12-hour flight to some exotic destination is not necessary, David Lisnard intends "to seize the opportunity that this difficult period gives us to accelerate what we have started: to return to basics, rediscover our region and enjoy the pleasures of our magnificent territory... in complete safety".
-MC, NR & AS