According to Atout France, the French tourism development agency, the centennial of the Great War leads to a significant increase in visits of the monuments in France.
The attendance level, spectacular in 2014, is according to Atout France holding up in 2015 to levels that are above those of 2013. Besides visitors from the usual source markets like UK, Germany, Belgium and Netherlands, the data show a significant increase in the number of long-haul visitors – especially the amount of Canadian, American, and Australian tourists went up.
In the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, international visitors are more numerous than French tourists (60% against 40%). The attendance rate of British people has increased by 8% in the first semester of 2015 compared to 2014. The Germans were also more present at the popular monuments in France, because German tour operators schedule memorial stays more easily, stated Atout France.
In the Somme region, the amounts of visitors at the memorial sites in 2015 are much higher than in the years preceding 2014. Especially tourists from UK and Australia travel to the area more often as well as Americans and Canadians, according to the statistics.
The commemoration of the Battle of the Aisne in 2014 attracted many visitors to the site as well. "The momentum is going on in 2015, as the attendance remains at higher levels than in 2013. The Cave of the Dragon, for example, received 42,509 visitors from January to September, which is slightly higher than the equivalent of the entire year 2013 (42,137 visitors)", stated Atout France in a press release.
Similarly, the centennial effect is still being felt at the memorial sites of the Champagne-Ardenne region. Several businesses reported their revenues increasing by 80-90% this year compared to 2013.
2014 is expected to be an exceptional year for the Meuse where the number of visits at the monuments increased by 66%. This year is also driven by the events related to the centennial since the current activity levels at these sites remain 30% higher than in 2013.
Finally, in the Vosges region, for the commemorative year, the amounts of visitors are at least stable (as in Linge) and rising (as in Hartmannswillerkopf), one of the four national monuments of the Great War, leading to an increasing number of visitors in the crypt of the national monument, amounting to 64,109 against 42,147 in 2014.