From the sea to the mountains, with history and opportunities
Nice, Saint-Jean Cap-Ferrat, Eze, Carros, Saint-Martin Vésubie and 45 other communes have been part of the same intermunicipal structure, Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolis, since December 31, 2011. With densely populated towns along the coast, rural landscapes in the hinterland, strong tourism development of seaside towns and new opportunities in mountain areas, from Mediterranean landscapes to alpine summits, Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolis is unlike any other. Hospitality ON takes inventory of the treasures concealed within this territory of half a million inhabitants.
Increased investment in Cagnes sur Mer
While Cannes, Juan-les Pins and Nice have managed to make their shoreline attract investments and tourists, Cagnes-sur-Mer has suffered for decades from heavy road traffic (50,000 vehicles a day in 2003) and a shortage of pedestrian areas. To make this area more attractive, major works were carried out between 2000 and 2008: the roadway surface area on the seaside was increased from 78 to 45%, more than 1,000 trees were planted, and 3 km of bicycle paths were created. With an enlarged sidewalk for restaurant terraces and more pedestrian space, hoteliers benefited from this new seaside attraction. The hotel Aéva, for example, has been renovated and is now completing its 19 rooms and 20 apartments with two "spa suites" with a panoramic terrace of 35 m² and private lift to go directly to the wellness area. The Côte d’Azur racecourse and seaside are no longer the only attractions in Cagnes sur Mer: it also has its city center. The upscale hotel supply is growing, with the new 4-star hotel Béal opening its doors in October. 13 million euros have been invested to build this property with 81 rooms, a restaurant and a rooftop swimming pool.
Saint Laurent du Var: 450 million euros invested to attract 14 million annual visitors
Due to its central position, Saint Laurent du Var, close to Cagnes sur Mer and Nice, attracted, more than fifty years ago, the construction of the Cap 3000 shopping center. In 2016, it has 10 million visitors. The owner Altarea Cogedim aims to add 4 million visitors per year, once renovation and extension works are completed. With €450 million, the owner aims to double the surface area to 135,000 m², from 145 shops to 300. With restaurant terraces expanded on the seafront, guests will enjoy an open view of the Mediterranean Sea and the landing strip. The pebble beach will be transformed with addition of white sand and a pontoon to moor yachts. The city port, close to Cap 3000, has benefited from €5.9M of works to rebuild all its restaurants and refurbish its spaces. A cable car linking the shopping center and Nice Airport is under study.
Saint Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Villefranche-sur- Mer: luxury and stability
The coastline east of Nice has a top-of-the-range hotel supply that has been established for a long time. After Saint-Jean became part of France in 1860, the town became increasingly attractive to the European aristocracy in search of resorts for mild winters. The "Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild", ‘Villa Les Cèdres’ estimated at 350 M €, and Le Grand Hôtel du Cap Ferrat, now a Palace operated by Four Seasons, were built. The price of real estate plus lack of available land prevent the development of new hotel projects.
Nice: the gateway to the Côte d’Azur and showcase
Hotel occupancy up again but prices down
Nice and its 6,552 chain rooms (on 1 January 2018) is the flagship of the Côte d’Azur. Every year almost 5 million people visit Garibaldi's city. With nearly 1.5 billion euros in economic benefits, the tourism industry has a considerable weight in the city's revenues. In order to exploit this demand even further, an international tourist zone (ZTI) has been created along the Promenade des Anglais. This area is a zone where businesses can remain open on Sundays and in the evening (until midnight) all year round. Works to secure the Promenade des Anglais with the #CotedAzurNow communication campaign following the attacks and exceptional weather in 2017 helped increase the number of visitors in Nice. The city’s OR increased by 2.6 points between 2016 and 2017 and the upscale reached an historic ten-year level for ten with 70% OR on average annually. Growth was enabled by a drop in average daily rates, -2.1% in 2017, and even more for the upscale with a variation of -3.3%.
Large variations in the number of cruise passengers in recent years
Tourist arrivals, mainly European, are becoming more international. In order to meet French and international tourism demand, the department has equipped itself with adapted transport infrastructures: international airport and cruise ports. The cruise market, which was long a secondary market in French metropolitan ports, skyrocketed during the first decade of 2000. Traffic to the Maritime Alps coastal area (including Monaco) increased almost five-fold between 1996 and 2010, approaching one million cruise passengers, mostly foreigners. This growth is mainly explained by the sharp increase in the capacity of vessels. Since 2010, the number of cruise passengers has gradually declined, before rebounding slightly in 2015. Although Nice does not have a port able to accommodate large ships, the port of Villefranche does and other Côte d’Azur ports have adapted their infrastructures. In 2003, Monaco inaugurated a giant floating dike and tripled the number of visitors. However, the schedule and destination of stopovers varies greatly from one year to another: Cannes set an absolute record in 2012 with the inauguration of its new ferry terminal and in 2013 Villefranche welcomed more than 50% of cruise passengers in the Maritime Alps. In 2014-2015, Cannes and Monaco increased their visitors, to the detriment of Villefranche. Antibes doubled its arrivals that same year. Prospects are now less promising for the Maritime Alps coast, due to reinforced competition between Mediterranean ports. Marseille, which remains in the lead, ranks 5th in the Mediterranean with 1.5 million in 2015).
Nice Airport: 7th consecutive year of growth
For the 7th consecutive year, Nice airport increased the number of passengers once again to reach 13,304,782. With a mainly international customer base, (64.6% of the market in 2017) the airport infrastructure is diversifying its connections abroad. Along with Roissy in Paris it is the only airport in France to welcome regular Airbus A380 flights, such as those of Emirates Airlines which links Nice to Dubai daily. Outside Paris, it is the only airport in France to serve New York (Delta Air Lines), Doha (Qatar Airways) and Dubai daily. For the 2018 summer season, Nice-Côte d’Azur airport has 114 direct destinations and 56 scheduled airlines serving 40 countries. In order to have the infrastructure needed to meet rising demand, the capacity will be increased by four million passengers through the 12,000 m² expansion project for Terminal 2 which will start in 2018.
Nice Eco Valley: the valley of opportunities
Between Nice’s downtown and Saint-Laurent du Var, the Var plain develops along the river that flows down from the mountains into the Mediterranean. Around the river, an under exploited plain could become a new economic pole of the Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolis. Called "Nice Eco Valley", the metropolis has designed three major urban development projects, each with its own particularity to attract residents, businesses and hotels.
Nice Meridia: the technology park with 17,000 m² for services and hotels
Along the Var river, new districts are emerging in a mixed territory of city and countryside, populated by 116 000 inhabitants. Around the Var plain, 3 projects are articulated including Nice Meridia urban technopole. The aim is to create 26,000 m² of offices, 4,500 m² of research centers and 8,850 m² of housing. In that space, 17,000 m² will be allocated for services, shops and hotels. The construction of this district confirms the attractiveness of the region with the installation of IBM offices. In order to link Nice airport to this new district, line 3 of the tramway will be created. The line will be 7 kilometers long and handle daily traffic of 12,000 passengers, it should be put in service in 2020.
Grand Arenas: the new business district in the heart of the metropolis and transportation
In Nice and close to Saint Laurent du Var, Nice Saint Augustin Airport multimodal hub will connect all transport services across an area of 90,000 m²: airport, two tramway lines, a bus station (bus, urban and interurban), trains and eventually the TGV. The Grand Arenas project with rapid connections to the entire department will also be developed with a new business district. The project includes a 65,000 m2 exhibition park and 750,000 m2 of buildable capacity .
La Barone, an agro-food hub with 1,400 jobs expected in the long term
Further back than the other Eco Valley projects mentioned above and easily accessible by car thanks to its proximity to highway A8, this agrofood and horticultural center will see the National Interest Market relocated in this district. The MIN Nice attracts significant road traffic because it is the second largest market in France, after Rungis and the biggest flower market in the country. Eventually, 1,400 jobs are expected in this area.
The villages of the hinterland: history and opportunities
The Mercantour National Park, with its variety of landscapes and cultural heritage, attracted around 400,000 visitors in 2016. Its main cultural sites enable it to develop its tourist attraction. Among the most visited, "Alpha le Temps du Loup" in Saint Martin Vésubie makes it possible to see wolves in their natural habitat. The site welcomed more than 63,000 visitors in 2015. The ‘Musée des Merveilles’ and the ‘Maison du Parc national du Mercantour’ in Tende were visited respectively by almost 29,000 and 15,000 people this year.
The villages in the hinterland
Gilette, Gattières, Aspremont... So many villages and places in the hinterland are not well-known, but are now subject to special attention from the Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolis. A communications project has been launched to promote local culture following the example of Bellet wine.
Ski resorts in the southern Alps: sun, snow cannons and diversified activities
According to the OECD, 39% of ski areas in the Alps will no longer have enough natural snow to continue their activity by the end of the century, i.e. 80 ski resorts located between 1000 and 2000 meters above sea level. As most of the Nice Côte d’Azur metropolitan areas are below 2,000 meters, the resorts could be forced to close due to a lack of favorable conditions for snow sports. To extend their activity, Christian Estrosi, president of the regional council of the Provence Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region in 2016, announced an budget of 100 million euros for the region’s ski areas. Although criticized by the environmental associations, 50 million euros was devoted that same year to investment in snow cannons. In addition to this, resorts are developing different sports that are less dependent on snow. They are diversify their summer activities to attract more tourists during this season. In the mountainous area of the Alpes Maritimes, there are 150,000 beds, including 130,000 in secondary homes and 20,000 in hotel or resort accommodations. In 2016, its ski resorts welcomed around 300,000 tourists in winter and 120,000 in summer. During the 2009 season, tourist stays lasted 9.3 nights on average with a third of clientele being of foreign origin.
Auron and Isola 2000: The largest ski area in the department
With 135 km of slopes and 370 snow cannons, Auron is the largest and best equipped ski area in the Alpes Maritimes. Isola 2000, at a higher altitude, has 120 kilometers of slopes for a day pass at the same price. In order to better connect the stations to the coast, there was a possibility of extending roads as part of the 2018 Olympic Games project. As the candidate city was not elected, the project did not evolve.
La Colmiane: the summer resort
Located between the altitudes of 1,400 and 1,800 meters, the resort is among the most threatened by global warming and lack of snow. In order to preserve its tourist appeal, the village has created two zip lines, including the biggest in France. These offer descents of more than 1,879 meters and 784 meters with a top speed of 130km / h., summer and winter. It costs 35€ per person for a descent and more than 1,000 rides were counted in February 2017. The resort also has an accrobranche ropes course and a summer toboggan that is considered one of the longest in France.
Le Boréon - Saint Martin Vésubie: wildlife and sports
In addition to its center for discovery of local fauna, "Alpha le Temps du Loup", the Boréon - Saint Martin Vésubie has developed its "Nordic Centre": ice climbing, biathlon and 30 kilometers of Nordic ski trails equipped with snow cannons. The hotel supply is very limited with 1 renovated 13-room property. The area relies on environmental discovery activities, such as tree houses, to attract tourists.
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