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The new face of European metropolises, actively focused on welcoming [1/2]

Over the last few decades, European metropolises have changed their face. Turning their activities towards services and especially tourism, whether business or leisure. Let's take a look back at the opportunities, ambitions and decisions that have led to these profound changes. This analysis will be completed by metropolises' point of view on themselves on their territories' development. Accessibility, urban development, structuring projects, development of the cultural offer... many factors have enriched the landscape of these destinations, attracting new customers to boost the hotel market.


The metropolis, with a population of 2.5 million, is home to Europe's fourth largest commercial port as well as Schiphol International Airport, which attracted 71 million passengers in 2018, 3.7% more than in 2017.

Faced with the increase in in visitors' number (17 million per year in 2016 for 850,000 intramural inhabitants), the local authorities have decided to change the profile of their visitors to favor more contributing tourists. They therefore introduced a measure in October 2017 prohibiting new stores openings targeting tourists (souvenir stores, fast food restaurants), in order to stem the rise in real estate prices in the city center and the eviction of tenants. The visitor's tax, levied on the price of overnight stays, amounts to 6% per night in the city center and 4% in other localities such as Amstelveen, Haarlemmermeer (Schiphol), Badhoevedorp, Lijnden, Uithoorm, Zaandam and Hoofddor. A deliberately high proportion of this tax is levied in order, again, to give preference to high taxpaying customers on the one hand, and on the other hand, to have significant income to animate and promote the destination. AirBnB's rentals are also limited to 30 days per year per person, which mechanically results in the demand for accommodation being shifted to the hotel industry.

In 2013, amsterdam&partners was born, a public utility organization that brings together public and private professionals with the aim of developing the attractiveness of the destination. "We are thinking about maintaining the right balance between quality of life and prosperity, sustainability and social responsibility, maximizing the benefits and minimizing the disadvantages.

An integrated approach that focuses on residents while offering a warm welcome to visitors. We focus on the best rather than the most, on quality rather than quantity. A clear statement of the organization's position that serves the residents of the destination."

An approach clearly reflected in the destination's paid accomodation offer and its performance.


The metropolis of Bordeaux is composed of 28 municipalities and will have a population of nearly 792,000 in 2017. Elected "destination of the year" in 2016 by the Lonely Planet travel guide, Bordeaux highlighted the region's wine heritage through the Cité du Vin (445,000 visitors, 23% of foreigners) and attracted an international clientele.

To support its development and restructuring, Bordeaux Metropole has designated two Operations of Metropolitan Interest (OIM) and also carries out an Operation of National Interest (OIN).


The city was home to more than 1.7 million inhabitants in 2011 (date of the last census publicly released). Budapest has benefited from a steady increase in international arrivals in recent years, with visitors mainly from Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic and Italy. Thanks to the development of low-cost airlines, Budapest is welcoming a growing number of young tourists on tight budgets, who are usually accommodated in budget hotels and youth hostels.


The European Metropolis of Lille (MEL), created in 1958, brings together 95 municipalities with rural and urban areas. It was home to 1.14 million inhabitants in 2017. Its heart, the city of Lille, has been profoundly transformed in a few decades. The transfer of ownership of the airport to the MEL in 2004 enabled it to entrust its management to a private company whose profitability objectives have led to strong growth in traffic, destinations served and the economic vitality of the airport zone.

In 2004, after 29 years of existence, Lille becomes the European Capital of Culture, an award that Paris received in 1989 and Avignon in 2000. In 2004, after 29 years of existence, Lille becomes the European Capital of Culture, an award that Paris received in 1989 and Avignon in 2000. It has relied heavily on this label to spread its fame at the European level and change its image, taking advantage of this pivotal year to push the development of the cultural offer, and renewing the experience of these years dedicated to culture every 2 or 3 years.

In 2020, it will once again expose itself internationally by becoming the capital of design, on a reduced schedule from September 9 to November 15, 2020 due to the health crisis. Since 2018 and the announcement of the choice of destination, the period has been used to transform the metropolis with numerous design experiments by the business world, but also local authorities and students. In addition to attracting visitors through exhibitions by world-famous designers, this should also contribute to the development of the destination.


33 districts, 14 of which are in London's inner suburbs, make up the Greater London area. The area is home to more than 8.1 million inhabitants, of which more than 7 million live within the city. The destination has an armed wing, London&Partners, a non-profit organization that brings together public and private partners, financed by the metropolis, national and European funds and its members.

Created in 2011 on the eve of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the organization's aim is to "support the Mayor's priorities by promoting London internationally as the best city in the world in which to invest, work, study and visit." According to Executive Director Laura Citron.


The Aix-Marseille Provence metropolis includes 92 municipalities, the largest metropolitan area in France, home to 1.85 million inhabitants. As France's leading commercial port with 3 million passengers in 2018, Marseille has undergone a radical transformation over the last decade, relying also on its label of European Capital of Culture obtained in 2013. This exposure on the international scene has been an opportunity to rethink the orientation of the metropolis and turn it more towards the sea. The Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean (MuCEM), inaugurated in June 2013, is a symbol of this opening, together with the revitalization of the emblematic Panier district.

The designation of the city as European Capital of Sport in 2017 also enabled it to develop its international reputation and support both national and international visits.


2019 marked the start of the second phase of the development (+25 ha) of the Business Park Amsterdam Osdorp, which will become the new business district of the capital. In addition, between 2019 and 2023, Schiphol Airport will be expanded with a new terminal and a new pier. The heart of the city is preserved, as well as its canals, which are classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

However, the capital is in a process of preserving the quality of life of its inhabitants and limiting the tourist footprint. There are therefore few development projects, but rather a willingness to seek a more contributive and sustainable tourism.


In the Bordeaux Lac district, the city has renovated its exhibition center with the reconstruction of Hall 2, which is fully modular. This building, which represents an investment of nearly 70 million euros, was inaugurated in 2019 to host the International Trade Fair and Vinexpo. The former "Sleeping Beauty" also aims to provide cultural infrastructure of European level and reopened its Natural History Museum in the Chartrons district in March 2019. This has strengthened the economic dynamism of the district, including thanks to the success of the Cité du Vin, another major facility that, since its opening in 2016, has strongly boosted tourist activity. The opening of the MECA (formerly Pole Régional de la Culture et de l'Economie Créative) in the summer of 2019 has also strengthened the attractiveness of the destination, highlighting a strong cultural hub.

The establishment is thus presented by its instigators: "The influence of this district, but also of a territory, is at stake in this operation, which thus aims to provide the Aquitaine region with a genuine instrument for supporting and promoting culture beyond its borders", as the creators explain.

The Bordeaux Euratlantique project, recognized as an Operation of National Interest (OIN) in 2009, has transformed the communes of Bègles, Bordeaux and Floirac. However, the recent change in Bordeaux's investiture has brought its share of moratoria, as some projects do not comply with the environmental requirements of the environmentalist elected officials who now occupy the town hall.


In 2017, the city launched numerous real estate projects, which are now on the finishing line.

The most significant is the construction of the new business district Agora Budapest, with a surface area of 136,000 square meters, including 6 office buildings and green spaces, to be completed between 2020 and 2022.

At present, the continuation of the real estate development is in a phase of programming and reflection, so that no project concerning the tourist sector is under development.


The European Metropolis of Lille is simultaneously carrying out several major urban and economic projects for its territory: the extension of the Rives de la Haute-Deûle and the future Saint-Sauveur district in Lille, not to mention the Euralille 3000 project.

Euralille 3000 is the successor to Euralille 1 which started in 1990 and Euralille 2 which has just been completed. The project still revolves around the international TGV station to develop what the metropolis claims to be the 3rd largest business district in France, but also to improve its quality of life and mix. The program concerns 250,000m², 1/3 of which is earmarked for housing.


By 2016, a third runway for Heathrow Airport had been approved by national and local authorities. The project was expected to cost £14 billion and to be completed by 2026. There are also plans to expand London City Airport, located in the London Docklands. Specifically, £480million is expected to be invested in order to reach a passenger increase of 2 million in the airport's capacity to reach 6.5cmillion passengers by 2025. The purpose of London City Airport expansion projects is twofold. On the one hand, it aims to serve a growing business clientele that does not want to be stuck in traffic when it leaves the airport. On the other hand, the increase in capacity was intended to allow airlines to improve their flexibility and the scheduling diversity of their flight slots. In addition, as part of a redevelopment of the terminal itself, it was planned to build a 260- room hotel at the entrance to the airport.

However, plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport were ruled illegal by the Court of Appeal as not respecting the Paris agreement and the commitments made to curb global warming. The legal battle is not over, but priorities have changed. London Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said last May: "If this [third track] is necessary, we will have to see how things develop over the next few years. If we manage to rebuild the British economy, we will need it in 10 to 15 years time. If not, I think we're all in a different world."

Many other large-scale urban development and renewal projects are being considered. The area around Wembley Park is expected to be developed with 5,000 new residential and office units by 2024. The cost of this project is estimated at £1.1 billion. A £9 billion transformation of the area around the Battersea power station is planned for 2025. This urban restructuring project includes the construction of apartments, hotels and offices on an area of more than 740,000 m². Apple, the main tenant of the complex, is expected to relocate its London headquarters to the former power station in 2021. A luxury Art'otel of the PPHE Group is expected to open in the power station itself by 2022.


The restructuring of the Marseille metropolis now involves its city center, which will be requalified with the aim of improving the living environment of its inhabitants. Pedestrianization, greening, development of soft traffic and public transportation are all elements that will also change the destination's image towards tourists with the redevelopment of 72 hectares of the Cité Phocéenne, 22 hectares of which will be pedestrianized.

What are the quantitative and qualitative evolutions of the hotel park and what are its performances?


The hotel offer in Amsterdam grew by 87% between 2006 and 2020, with nearly 18,000 rooms created to reach a total of 38,532 keys. In line with the destination's desire to address high-contribution customer, the budget hotel sector lost 67% of its offer With only 923 keys as of January 1, 2020.

On the other hand, the mid and high-end offer grew strongly: +113% for mid-range keys and +122% for high-end keys. In total, these two segments represented 34,670 rooms on January 1, 2020, or nearly 90% of the total offer. 

The occupancy rate for Amsterdam hotels reached 84.4% in 2019, a very stable level over the period, especially in view of the 18,000 rooms opened in the meantime. Change in Supply by Segment - AmsterdamAmsterdam Graphique


The destination has one of the highest RevPARs in Europe, at €148.19 including tax in 2019, representing growth of 24.8%, driven in particular by the upscale move of the offer.


Benefiting from the dynamic growth and development of several districts of the city, Bordeaux has experienced a strong growth,, rising from 7,594 rooms in 2006 to 10,465 keys as of January 1, 2020, which represents a 37,81% increase. Bordeaux's urban renewal has resulted in a growing appetite among operators and investors, including international investors.

The super-economy segment shows the strongest growth in the customer base between 2006 and 2020: +72.4%. The economy segment grew by 27.80% and the mid-range segment by 10.66%. The high-end customer base is growing strongly, with an offer that logically remains far below that of the other segments. BORDEAUXGraphique Bordeaux


Since 2000, RevPAR has been progressing steadily, in parallel with the economic and urban development of Bordeaux. Occupancy rates have risen from 59.3% in the post-crisis year to 74.8% in 2017 and 74.6% in 2019, ending three years of occupancy above 74% in the Gironde capital.

The super economy segment has the best occupancy performance, reaching 76.4% in 2019, followed by the mid-range segment at 72.3% in 2019, the economy segment at 70.3% and finally the high-end segment which filled its establishments at 66.3% in 2019.

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