It’s back to school, but not for everyone. After a summer when the French were once again numerous to favor France, some are prolonging the pleasure. According to a recent report drawn up by ADN Tourisme, the national federation of tourist offices, more than two in five French people have planned to leave (on vacation or on weekends) in September, and as many in October.
The summer season was excellent for the Mediterranean coast, less good in the big cities, and September presents the same trends. For 20 Minutes, Didier Arino, founder of the firm Protourisme, looks at the tourist activity of the coming weeks.
Is September, in general, a month during which the French go away a lot?
In the classic “pre-Covid” year, some could have a better turnover in September than in July. This was the case for the Basque Country, for example, because there was a double clientele: business and leisure. The month of September represents 12% of the turnover of French tourism, so it is an important month.
What is the profile of holidaymakers in September?
There are families with very young children who do not go to school. Parents with student children, who do not necessarily return to school right away. But the majority of the clientele are couples without children, with an over-representation of seniors. And people who worked during the summer and who take advantage of this period to leave.
Why do you want to leave in September?
The first answer is the price. It is lower. Second element: there are fewer people, so it’s nice. In September, the clientele is more gourmet, goes to restaurants, likes local products. It is less “beach sun” and much more “heritage”. She visits more, does more outdoor activities. It takes the time and consumes more.
And this September clientele has inspired others a bit. Because today, even in July and August, we have people who are looking more for inclusive tourism, focused on heritage. It is therefore the traditional clientele which takes the habits of that of September.
What are the popular areas?
Previously, this clientele went abroad, to Spain in the Maghreb, they traveled. But she does it less today. So the destinations are quite traditional: large seaside resorts with a strong identity such as Brittany, the Arcachon basin, the large resorts on the Mediterranean and Atlantic coast.
How is September shaping up in terms of reservations?
Good for resort destinations. There is a 15% increase in bookings compared to last year. This revival in “leisure” does not always compensate for the decline in business tourism, but it looks good. And what can change the situation are those who, seeing that the weather is going to be nice or not, will decide to go for the weekend, to treat themselves to a three-day getaway. Not to mention that the development of teleworking makes it possible to work one day elsewhere and extend for the weekend.
What is your assessment of the past summer?
We had a record, since 37 million French people went on vacation this summer. That’s 4 million more than a normal year, and 2 million more than last year. Added to this was an increase in the average length of stay. More starters who leave for longer, that necessarily means more overnight stays. And the main beneficiaries have been tourist accommodation: hotels, campsites, furnished rentals….
But the season has been more complicated in urban areas …
Ile-de-France, in particular Paris, is very dependent on foreign customers, particularly long-haul. There has been a return of the traditional European clientele, with the exception of the British. And they weigh heavily, it was the first clientele that came to France. So those who depended on the French did very well, those who depended on foreigners a little less.