During a conference in Bercy, Olivia Grégoire, Minister Delegate for Tourism, took stock of the tourist season in France this summer. According to Grégoire, inflation has reduced the holiday budget of the French who will have less frequented restaurants and more favored seasonal rentals and camping. On the foreign side, the weak presence of Asian travelers does not allow to find the record level of 2019, but the receipts will beat a new record.
Fewer foreigners than in 2019
The French have a tighter budget this year. However, they are generally loyal to the France destination. Foreigners were less numerous than in 2019, but in return less fussy about spending… This is a summary of what emerges from the report on the summer tourist season of Atout France revealed by Olivia Grégoire. The minister obviously did not fail to highlight the good figures of the survey carried out by Opinion Way for Atout France, ADN tourisme and eleven regional tourism committees.
7 out of 10 French people leave in July and August
Among those questioned, nearly seven in ten said they had gone on vacation, either in July or August. For some, this summer break could have been limited to a weekend and for others spread over several weeks. But in 88% of cases, the chosen destination(s) were located on the national territory.
More expensive and less crowded hotels… less crowded restaurants
Inflation will still have weighed on the French vacation budget. Stays have been shortened. From nine days on average in 2022, we went to eight days this year. And above all, this summer, holidaymakers have gone to restaurants much less (27% of respondents say they have reduced this part of their budget).
This explains, at least in part, why hoteliers saw their occupancy rate drop when it had risen in 2022. If we compare to 2019, the decline is significant, with an occupancy rate lower by 4, 5 points, a drop of 6%. A drop in their attendance, which hoteliers are compensating for, it is true, by a sharp increase in their prices (+28.2% on average compared to 2019, according to this report from Atout France).
Seasonal rental, big winner for summer 2023
For their part, unsurprisingly, campsites posted record summer attendance with 79 million overnight stays (+0.8% compared to last year). But the most spectacular thing is the increase in holiday rentals, houses and apartments: almost 12% more overnight stays during the month of July. Seasonal rental, despite higher rates than in 2022, stands out as the big winner of this summer vintage.
Hoteliers and restaurateurs will perhaps catch up with the late season which looks promising
Nearly one in two French people (48% vs. 42% in 2022) plan to go away at least one weekend in September. And 35% are planning a stay in October (30% in 2022). The effect Rugby World Cup partly explains these encouraging figures for tourism professionals.
Foreign tourists in France: new revenue record expected this year
A trend which also applies to part of the foreign clientele. This crucial part of tourist attendance has not returned to its 2019 level in number of visitors. There is still a shortage of some Asian customers, particularly Chinese. The record of 90 million foreign visitors may be broken next year with the Olympic and Paralympic Games. But this year, the latest forecasts from Atout France expect, at best, 82 million.
Sharply rising prices could scare away foreign tourists
On the other hand, due to the sharp increase in the prices of hotel rooms, restaurants and more generally everything that tourists consume have increased significantly, the windfall brought by foreign visitors is expected to be significantly higher than 58 billion euros. euros last year, where the 2019 record was narrowly beaten. Atout France expects revenues of at least 64 billion euros.
It is true that for American or Canadian tourists, the comparison with prices in their country works in our favor. The latter, more numerous than in recent years, have the impression of saving money when they are in France, which encourages them to spend more.