Olivia Grégoire, the Minister Delegate for Tourism, announced that France could expect an "overall excellent" tourist season this summer. The national promotion agency, Atout France, predicts tourism revenues of around 64 to 67 billion euros, increasing from last year's 58 billion. Despite lowering purchasing power due to higher inflation, French citizens are determined to travel on holiday, even if it means traveling shorter distances for less time. Most importantly, foreign customers are returning to France, as international arrivals on long-haul flights have increased by 29%, according to the minister.
It’s worth noting that many Europeans visited France in August. Experts have also noticed an increase of 119% in Asian travelers compared to 2022, although it’s still not as significant as before. Additionally, many Americans have taken advantage of the favorable Euro – US dollar exchange rate, resulting in increased American visitors to France, following the positive momentum from last year.
French accommodation facilities are in good shape
Hoteliers' average revenue per room has increased by 21.9% compared to 2019, a benchmark year for the profession before the health crisis and the current upheavals. Even on the campsite side, attendance has exceeded the sector's expectations, being slightly higher than that of 2022, thanks to the return of Europeans, as mentioned by Nicolas Dayot, the president of the National Federation of Outdoor Hotels (FNHPA).
Although there has been a slight decrease in tourism in the southern regions compared to last year, the numbers are still positive. They have surpassed those of 2019. François de Canson, the president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur regional tourism committee and vice-president of the southern region, noted fewer French tourists this year. However, foreign visitors have offset domestic travelers, reaching an all-time high. Additionally, many French tourists have chosen to visit the mountains, resulting in a 20% increase in occupancy rates this summer.
France towards year-round tourism
Brittany, Normandy, and Nord-Pas-de-Calais lead in cottage attendance, surpassing the previously popular Atlantic and Southern regions. Overall, Burgundy-Franche-Comté, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Pays de la Loire, and mountainous areas have also seen increased visitors. This season marks a noticeable increase in tourist preferences towards clean air and hiking over beach vacations.
Tourism in the form of a donut is evolving to promote a more even distribution of holidays throughout the year and across different locations. Due to financial constraints, many French people opt for shorter trips closer to home instead of the traditional long summer holiday in the south. France is shifting towards a four-season tourism model, with September bookings up 20% following a successful spring season. The off-season also offers better value for money than during the tourist season.