TREND.On June 9, France kicked off the third phase of releasing COVID restrictions by reopening its borders to tourists; unfortunately, the market has reacted timidly, according to an analysis of flight searches made by travellers from around the world. The data, sourced from the leading international flight metasearch engine, clearly shows that the government’s strategy to ease restrictions has not the desired effect on the market.
The reopening plan, designed to help and boost the tourism sector, gives vaccinated tourists the chance to visit the country without restrictions; however, as other countries have done, France has classified countries according to their level of health risk and only those on the Green List can enter without justifying their stay. Currently, vaccinated travellers from Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Singapore and the entire Schengen area can enter without presenting a negative test.
After a spring marked by the tug of lockdowns, the reopening plan was viewed with hope by tourism operators, who were heavily burdened by the contraction of demand, but for now, the effects are still limited. Searches for flights to France, which reflect users’ travel intentions, have increased (in the days leading up to 9 June), but only modestly; on the contrary, the average daily growth rate decreased from 2.4% before the opening to 1.6%.
IRREGULAR RECOVERY. In the last thirty days (June 12 – July 11), users made 6.894 million searches for France: in the ranking of the most searched countries worldwide, France is in ninth place, far behind Spain (24.7 million), Italy (18.0 million) and Greece (14.1 million).
Searches for trips to France are geographically highly concentrated; in fact, travellers are searching for only two destinations: the vast majority is for flights to the Île de France region, (46% of the total, with 3.2 million searches) and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region (20% of the total, with 1.4 million searches). Following the top two is New Aquitaine (8%), Occitania and Corsica (7%) and Auvergne-Rhone-Alps (5%).
Tourist demand, therefore, is concentrating almost exclusively on these two regions, which together account for two-thirds of total searches. These are destinations which are profoundly different from each other – both in terms of type of tourism and market conformation – which clearly illustrates the irregularity of the French travel recovery.
FOREIGN MARKETS. 81.6% of people making searches to France are foreigners and the foreign market only covers 18.4%. The travellers most likely to travel to France come from neighbouring countries: Spain (10.4%), Italy (10.1%), the United Kingdom (7.2%) and Germany (6.1%). Users from countries on the Green List, outside the Schengen area, have a very low market share: only Israel exceeds 1%.
With 714 thousand searches, Spain is the foreign market with the largest share but Italy, which follows closely with 695 thousand searches, is the most active: every day the travel intention of Spaniards grows at an average rate of 1.2%, while for Italians it is 2.0%.
Both nationalities have a strong preference for flights departing in July, accounting for 42% and 41% of summer travel respectively; however, Italian travellers, unlike Spaniards, are also very interested in the first weekends of August, especially the weekends between the 13th and 15th.
Destination is a market intelligence project created by Lybra – developers of the most complete, machine learning, data-centric Revenue Management System (RMS) available on the market – to share real-time, region-specific statistics, information and trends in the world of tourism.
Every day, Lybra analyzes millions of datasets – data collected from thousands of hotels’ PMS and flight search data from a leading metasearch booking engine – to help hoteliers “look ahead to better understand the present;” in other words, Lybra helps hoteliers understand the upcoming demand for their destination and gives them the revenue management tools and actionable insights necessary, to maximize bookings and revenue.
The aim of Destination is to give hoteliers and DMOs a more expansive view of tourism news and trends in different regions around the world. Destination produces weekly Travel Demand Reports, which share tourism developments for a specific country/region and analyze how the region’s travel news has impacted tourist demand. Follow Destination on LinkedIn to gain access to the upcoming Travel Demand Reports, which are published every Tuesday.