Spring weekends are overflowing with tourists, but who comes and with what money?

Tourists line up to visit the Palace of Versailles.  June 18, 2019

©Dominic Faget/AFP

Atlantico Business

Despite purchasing power problems, gasoline prices, and a somewhat depressing political and social climate, the French left en masse over the weekend, and it will continue to be. Hotels, restaurants and campsites are full. This industry is running at full speed, especially with the return of foreigners.

Since everyone is complaining about the political and social situation, and everyone is complaining about the prices of gasoline and food products, and inflation is well entrenched and real, the first question that the observer asks is to understand how this French tourism industry works, which has regained even more color than it was before Covid.

Suffice it to note the record attendance of TGVs, to see the busy highways, to know that the long weekends in the spring have caused an influx of tourists. This was true during the big weekend of ascent between May 26 and May 29. It’s again around the time of Pentecost since June 3. All specialists expect a very busy month of June and announce a record summer vacation, given the reservations made.

Hotel owners, restaurants, camp managers, Airbnb, mobile home rental companies, SNCF and airline ticket offices are all on the same wavelength. The professionals expect such a great season.

According to the flight comparison KAYAK.co.uk, French travelers have played the “proximity card” with the most popular destinations in France which comes as no surprise. Paris remains attractive to residents and foreigners alike.

And then it comes:

  1. Marseille

  2. Deauville

  3. forget

  4. Saint Malo, Mont Saint Michel

  5. La Paul, Quiberon, Belle Elle

  6. Arcachon

  7. La Rochelle, Charente beaches

  8. Basque Coast

  9. The Languedoc Coast and the French Riviera

  10. the mountain ..

Classic tourist destinations (Mont-Saint-Michel, Loire castles, Fontainebleau, Versailles and Eurodisney) are still very popular, but new is the success of the seaside resorts in Normandy and Brittany.

At the time of the boarding holiday and this weekend, the average 2 and 3 star hotels are full, and the same hotels are showing average 90% bookings for June and the summer holidays. ‘the summer. It is full almost everywhere on all the coasts of France between July 14 and August 15.

It should be noted that many French left for Europe, in particular:

  1. Amsterdam

  2. Barcelona

  3. London

  4. Rome

  5. Palma de Mallorca

This phenomenon was predicted by economists who, despite the economic and social difficulties, uncertainty about the development of prices and pressure on energy, for the most part, gave professionals a rather positive outlook. In fact, the need to get some fresh air, to escape by all means from the daily gloom and bad news did not succumb to lack of money or uncertainty about purchasing power.

1e Point, the French have denied themselves vacations for about two years Because of confinement and the shared risks to Covid. They make up for it, even if it’s expensive.

2e The point is, if income is insufficient and in many cases income is cycled through price increases, the French draw on their savings Because their savings are very abundant.

3e Point, the French are about to change the way they consume. Less restricted spending, less Netflix and other subscriptions we’ve thrown off during Covid and more travels. We found the big weekend with friends, and we’ve rescheduled weddings, bridal showers, bachelors and bachelorette parties. The events that we have forgotten have multiplied at high speed since the beginning of the spring that announces a wave of weddings in September.

4e The point is, the French are more likely to work than they were before Covid. So more income and more desire to travel.

So this situation does not benefit all the French, but three quarters of them. There is still a good quarter that is currently in great difficulty which is weighing heavily on inflation in particular. Inflation costs a low income a lot more than a high income. Inflation affects above all fuel, food and real estate. Inflation particularly affects low incomes at 1,500 euros. At 3,500 euros, and contrary to what INSEE says, you are certainly not rich, but you can easily consume the price of a weekend or a week’s vacation in Brittany.

The professionals explain it. For a weekend getaway, French tourists spend money. For a week or two, they take care of the expenses, especially the food (a restaurant, for example, makes a good difference between these types of customers).

The second good surprise for the French tourism industry is the return of the Europeans, The English, the Dutch, and the Germans return with the behavior of middle-class consumers, that is, they are very close to the French tourist. This is the new thing about restaurants on the Normandy or Breton coast, we “speak English again on the balconies”. It’s been two years since we heard this dialect.

The Americans also returned to Paris (and in the south) and these agents awakened the palaces. The big absentees are, of course, the Russians and the Chinese. But many professionals realized that they would have to get used to their absence. “The Russians are not coming back any time soon…but the Chinese are. Maybe finally!”

French tourism is usually a good year. If attendance at seaside resorts remains at its current level in the fall, the results will be excellent. The only problems that could arise would come from outside and from the international situation. It is clear that the crisis in Ukraine is not over yet. In addition, the entire sector is internally looking for ways to meet labor needs. At the moment, hotel and restaurant owners have not found solutions. A third of their workforce has not returned to work since the end of Covid.

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