A major tourist destination regains its throne

The summer season has regained its colors, which is also a major tourist destination in France.A summer feared by tourism industry insiders is a series of episodes of inflation, rising fuel prices, aviation disruptions, fires and heat waves. , and furthermore, the impact of soaring hotel services and rental rates, which were feared to be depressing, Olivia Gregoire ultimately described as “exceptional.” Acting Minister for Tourism. The minister’s report said attendance was broadly back to levels seen in 2019, which was “already a record year.” Not only did 35 million French (i.e. 7 in 10 adults, compared to 6 in 10 in 2021) go on holiday, but also foreigners (25 million 31% of people) also traveled to France, and the absence of Japanese (-75%) was still felt in August. With “65 to 70 million foreign tourists a year”, France can be expected to maintain its leadership, believes Atout France, the agency responsible for promoting tourism. But nearly 40% of French girlfriends don’t go on vacations or weekends. You probably just went to an amusement park that could be considered a summer outing. »

Ile de France and the powers of the south

All players and regions appear to be benefiting from this turnaround, and “it’s not over yet,” the minister stressed: Hotels will see average sales per room increase this summer across all regions + 22.2%. This is likely due to the return of tourists with high purchasing power from the United States, Canada and the Gulf States, who prefer four- and he five-star hotels and luxurious services.

But the resurgence of the French tourism major has not harmed more rural areas in the midst of or at the exit from the covid crisis, the big winners of the two seasons of 2020 and 2021.

Mainland France had an occupancy rate of 80%, with increased attendance in Center-Val-de-Loire, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes compared to 2019. The southern regions, including Corsica and Normandy, returned to his 2019 level, but the Grand Est region outperformed. 37% of holidaymakers prefer the coastal region, with a preference for the South, but Normandy, Brittany and the Atlantic Coast are strong draws. 32% went to the countryside, +4% in Bourgogne Franche-Comté and 80% of French customers in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.

9 out of 10 vacationers stay in France

“We are experiencing a historic year given the record observed. good season. The off-season is always characterized by short stays for French tourists.

For him, the desire for vacations in France outweighs rising prices and fuel costs, and even if budgets get tighter this summer (-8%), “an average of four people a week €1,600 spent: “9 out of 10 vacationers stay on the national territory, local tourism is ‘gaining momentum’, and residents of Ile-de-France, for example, choose to stay in Normandy or Brittany.” doing. Private-to-private rentals are “in the top three commercial accommodations,” but experts point to significant weekly price increases, which is a problem.

In the Paca region, the hotel industry has returned to 2019 levels “despite price increases of up to 35%,” confides François de Canson. Covid-19 has changed habits with last-minute decisions, but this year 80-85% of bookings have allowed him to have a fairly accurate vision of May to July and to August. Did. As a result, the southern region “has no promotions in July and August” and is now “working on tourism development in the remaining 10 months.”

Ile-de-France is slowly catching up

But even with summer tourism activity being “very dynamic” by the local councils, Paris and Ile-de-France have yet to return to their 2019 levels compared to the first half of 2022. Includes 10.8 million French tourists (-18% compared to 2019) and 7.4 million foreign tourists (-29% compared to 2019). However, month after month, the gap between 2019 and he 2022 seems to be closing.

For example, from January to June, hotel arrivals decreased from -42% to -11% compared to the same period in 2019, a difference of -19%. The momentum continues in the summer, and the outlook for the hotel and airline sectors from September to November is considered “very positive.” Hotel bookings recorded during this period were “180% higher than in the same month last year, with customers from the US, UK, Germany, Italy and Spain in particular concerned, and from certain faraway places such as Brazilians. It goes without saying that customers will return: Canadians, Australians or Middle Easterners,” noted the local council, whose chairman Valéry Pécress said, “2022 will be at the Ile de France.” It will be the year when tourism will revive.”

Efforts by cohabitants and tourists

Observing these data, the French Regional Association encourages the continuation of work that will allow it to propose a specialized sector that is “more respectful of the environment, updated and able to attract new tourists.” “Because this summer is already a serious problem, and even if Paca were able to reduce the number of holiday offers from 45,000 to 3,000 at the beginning of the summer, it would be a huge challenge for players in this sector to continue backing. For François de Canson, “in terms of hospitality” “We have to be very clear,” he said, “and we have to find a balance so that residents don’t say they’re a nuisance to tourists.” »

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