Campsites, hotels, furniture rentals, trains: France’s summer tourist season has resurfaced despite fires and inflation, with an undeniable success for coastal destinations. “We are almost the same as in 2019,” Didier Arino, CEO of the Protourisme cabinet, explains to AFP. According to him, in general, the number of overnight stays in hotels increased by 2% compared to the period before the pandemic, and turnover increased by 17%. There is a growing trend towards renting campsites or furniture, he said.
The summer was “a very good season,” Solange Escure, national director of the Gîtes de France, confirms to AFP. The occupancy rate continued to grow and reached 86% in August (+6 points compared to 2019). “In the period from July 23 to August 20, the rates were even 100%,” she adds. “We are on track to make 2022 a better year than 2019,” said Nicolas Dayot, President of the National Federation of Open Air Hotels (FNHPA). FNHPA expects to reach 130 million overnight stays in all of 2022, up one million more than in 2019.
“This is a great summer, a record summer,” said SNCF Voyageurs Paris CEO Christophe Fanichet. In July and August, the company carried 23 million passengers on TGV and Intercités trains in France. With international (Thalys, Eurostar, links to Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain), the world figure is up to 28 million. According to him, in general, there are 10% more travelers than in the summer of 2019.
Paris benefited from the return of foreigners, especially Americans. The Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that 9.9 million tourists visited the capital from the beginning of June to the end of August (-3.5% compared to 2019). But the favorite destination remains the coast, “especially the Mediterranean coast, but we also have very good performance in Normandy and the Atlantic coast, except for the part affected by fires,” according to Didier Arino.
Hotels in the PACA region have almost regained 2019 occupancy levels despite price increases of more than 30%, as in Normandy, where price increases are less strong, between 10 and 15%, according to MKG Consulting.
According to the president of the FNHPA, the coast, “which makes up 50% of the traffic in a normal year,” “became a hit.” “The first two weeks of July were less expensive, they were well filled, and the month of August, which usually accounts for 38% of the total activity,” he adds, citing the example of Brittany, where 77% of campsites say they “have done better than in 2019″.
“It was more difficult for the mountains and some rural areas, such as the Dordogne,” Didier Arino emphasizes. Inland areas “like Gers or Dordogne” re-opened during Covid by French people who used to go abroad have not found “the same dynamic”, confirms Nicolas Dayot, “we feel that this summer these tourists have gone abroad “.
Benefits of amusement parks
Jean-Pierre Mas, President of Entreprises du Voyage, notes, compared to 2019, “a slight decrease in the number of departures in July-August of about 5%, but an increase in budgets of 23%” for stays “increased by almost a day on average.
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Those who stayed in France enjoyed themselves too, as the amusement parks were full this summer. According to François Fassier, Director of the Compagnie des Alpes parks, in the Parc Asterix in July-August, the number of visitors from 750,000 to 800,000 people increased by 20% compared to 2019. According to him, the development of the Futuroscope is almost the same, and the group’s smallest structures, such as Walibi Park or the Grevin Museum, have also moved forward compared to 2019.
Disneyland Paris didn’t release numbers, but assures AFP that it had a “very positive momentum” this summer.