“2022 is the year of the rebirth and recovery of tourism in Ile-de-France”, rejoiced the president of the region Valérie Pécresse, marked by “a very strong recovery in the first half, with however a bias: 60% of tourists are French and only 40% international, Americans or local Europeans: British, Germans, Spaniards, Italians, Belgians or Dutch”.
It still lacked “30% of international customers in the first half”, she underlined during a press conference, due to “the absence of Asian and mainly Chinese tourists”. This absence weighed on revenues, down 30% compared to the first half of 2019, to 7 billion euros, according to figures published by the Paris Ile-de-France regional tourism committee (CRT).
The health crisis has caused the tourism sector in Ile-de-France to lose “30 billion euros in two years and yet the companies have withstood the shock, helped by the State, helped by the region”, said Ms. Pécresse, specifying that the region has released “more than 150 million euros” for professionals in a sector which represents “500,000 jobs that cannot be relocated”.
Thus over the first six months of 2022, tourist attendance is still down sharply compared to before Covid-19: 18.2 million tourists went to Paris and Ile-de-France, i.e. 23% less than in the first half of 2019. And in museums (Louvre, Orsay…), it is -30%.
The number of international tourists fell by 42% to 7.4 million, due to an upturn in air traffic and very gradual easing of health restrictions. The decline is less for French tourists (-22%), who were 10.8 million tourists to visit the capital and its region.
But the summer (June to August) was much more favourable. Some 12.6 million tourists visited Paris and its region, 6% less than in the summer of 2019, with “occupancy rates of 70% against 75%” before Covid.
“We are in the process of catching up in July and August with the levels of 2019”, declared Ms. Pécresse, stressing that half of the professionals in the region considered the season “good”, against a quarter in 2021″. And this, thanks to to “a dynamic carried by international customers, and in particular the Americans, thanks to an extremely favorable euro-dollar parity”. “Today more than 20% of our (foreign) tourists are Americans”, she said underline.
Among the foreigners, some even came in greater numbers than in the summer of 2019, in particular the Italians (33%), the Spaniards (8%) and the Germans (1%) in June-July according to the calculations of the organisation, based on hotel arrivals.
But in the first half of the year, hotel arrivals of American tourists, the region’s leading international clientele, remained down 24% to 949,000 compared to 2019, followed by those of the British, still down 19% to 737,000.
Next come tourists from Germany (-10% to 560,000), Spain (-13% to 468,000), Belgium (-3% to 440,000) close to the pre-pandemic level, such as Italians or Swiss (respectively -5% to 403,000 and -1% to 225,000).
The number of tourists from the Netherlands jumped 32% to 406,000.
The summer dynamics and “positive outlook” for the fall could allow the region to reach in 2022 “45 million tourists, which would bring us closer to the absolute record of 2019, which was 51 million”, said Ms. Pécresse .
Asked about the month of September, 69% of professionals however judged the state of their reservations “average”, against 71% qualifying it as “good” in 2019, seeming to be circumspect about their activity in the coming weeks.