New loan for Covid-stricken tourism businesses in France

Hospitality and tourism businesses in France are now eligible to receive a new state loan to help them recover from the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

6 August 2020
A campsite in nature. New loan for Covid-stricken tourism businesses in France including gites B&Bs and campsitesA new loan is now available for hospitality and tourism businesses affected by the Covid crisis, including gîtes, campsites and B&Bs
By Connexion journalist

The new loan - called a prêt garanti par l'État (PGE) (loan guaranteed by the State) - is called a “PGE Saison”, and will allow businesses to borrow more than they could under a regular government loan.

It has been available since Wednesday August 5.

Nicolas Dayot, president of national hospitality group la Fédération Nationale de l'Hôtellerie de Plein Air, who himself owns three campsites in Brittany, welcomed the news.

He told news source FranceInfo: “We are very happy, it will help us get through the winter. We were waiting for [the loan] especially in the camping world, as we usually do 80% of our business between the months of July to September.”

Mr Dayot said that the timing of the loan had been particularly welcome, and could allow businesses to support their late summer bookings, keep their staff paid, and stay afloat during the winter.

He said: “The date of August 5 is rather good for this loan to come into force. Campsites have a very clear view of their reservations for the month of August, and they will now know if they will need [the loan].”

The loan is available in addition to other government funding, and repayments can be spread over one to five years.

The application process differs depending on the number of employees / turnover a business has.

The full process is detailed on government websites here and here including instructions on how to check for eligibility, how to connect your bank with your business, FAQs and more.

In contrast to usual PGE loans, the Saison loan will take into account your three best business months from 2019, meaning that for some seasonal businesses, up to 70-80% of their annual activity could be taken into account.

Once your business has been deemed eligible, you can then apply to the bank, who can "pre-approve" your loan before connecting to the loan platform. If you are refused a loan and believe you have grounds for appeal, you can contact supportentrepriseattestation-pge@bpifrance.fr.

Mr Dayot added: “For many, it will mean they are not under so much pressure.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Gîte and holiday letting rules in France

Read more: France holiday travel options and coronavirus rules

The campsite owner said that his industry had been less catastrophically-hit than some other areas of hospitality, with campsites losing “[only] 20-25% of their activity”, and bookings already looking strong for the months of August and September.

He said: “The month of September is already doing well in terms of campsite reservations...and most of us will usually have closed our doors [by October anyway].”

Holiday destinations such as gîtes, campsites and B&Bs in France have reported strong interest as the public avoids international travel and instead chooses to stay closer to home.

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