And in a context where inflation weighs on the budget of many households, holidays in France, especially in the countryside, continue to be popular.
“People do not want to deprive themselves of vacations. To withstand the inflationary shock, either they dip into their savings, or they are looking for ways to go despite everything, perhaps less far, to more affordable destinations”, summarizes the AFP Xavier Rousselou, spokesperson for Abritel, a rental platform between individuals.
In total, “34 million of our fellow citizens plan to leave in July-August. This is nearly 2 million more than before the crisis”, noted Sunday Didier Arino, the director general of the Protourisme cabinet, on Europe 1. ” The lights are green, except for transport and personnel problems”.
After the cancellation of some 150 flights between last Thursday and Saturday at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport, affected by a social conflict, other disruptions are to be feared for the weekend of the start of the school holidays. A new strike notice has been filed by firefighters from Friday July 8 at 5 a.m. until Sunday 10 at midnight.
And this, while the airports will be full, Air France anticipating in particular “a strong recovery” this summer.
Jean-Pierre Mas, president of Entreprises du voyage (travel agencies), fears “terrible problems in air transport, availability, regularity and waiting at airports, because of the announced strikes”, but also “of the lack of personnel and the lack of anticipation of the situation”.
Preferred destinations abroad, Spain and Greece come first, followed by Italy, Turkey and Tunisia. “The United States and Canada are also doing very well, as is Central America,” he explains. Reservations in travel agencies increased “by 8% for July-August in number of files and by 20% in turnover compared to 2019”.
– Closer and cheaper –
As for holidays in France, the coast remains at the top of requests on Abritel. But “rural destinations, not necessarily far from big cities, closer to home” are also very popular, such as “the middle mountains, the Jura, Cantal, Haute-Loire or Burgundy”, says Xavier Rousselou.
“The tendency to go to the countryside, very significant during the first deconfinements to have space and calm, is strengthening and anchoring. (…) By taste, but perhaps also with a budget factor: instead of refueling twice, we’ll only do it once,” he said. “And a rental in the countryside is often, for an equivalent service, cheaper than the major coastal destinations”.
“The question of purchasing power and the search for a very good quality / price ratio” is also seen in reservations at the campsite, notes Nicolas Dayot, president of the federation of outdoor hotels (FNHPA). The first two weeks of July, usually less in demand and less expensive than the end of July or the beginning of August, “are already very well reserved in very many campsites, even complete”.
And “bare pitches for tents, motorhomes and caravans” have been very attractive, underlines Mr. Dayot, according to whom “the working classes are looking for holidays at very efficient prices”. He believes that 2022 could be a “record” year for campsites.
The European number one for leisure residences Pierre et Vacances forecasts “occupancy rates of more than 90%”, better than before the crisis. “We are filling up because this summer […] the French want to go back on vacation, but they want to go back close to home, because there are health risks, economic constraints, ecological awareness too “, estimated the general manager of Pierre et Vacances – Center Parcs, Franck Gervais, recently on BFMTV.
On the transport side, the SNCF is counting on a “record summer”, the level of reservations exceeding the end of June by 10% that, already record, of 2019 on the same date. For the BlaBlaCar platform, activity in 2022 should be similar to that of 2019, with 4.5 million travelers expected this summer on its carpooling and bus network.