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France: August is not producing big waves

Compared to a brilliant month of July (+8,8% of RevPAR increase), the second summer month is obviously less flamboyant, even though, in the end, the RevPAR of French hotel chains is also improving by +2,6%. Thanks to the change of the Ramadan period, the month of August did not benefit from the large contribution of the Middle-eastern clientele. Even the British have been missing on the French Riviera, and the North Americans, other high spenders, have not yet peacefully invade France, even if the air traffic over the Atlantic is rising. The French hotel industry had to accommodate domestic and European leisure clienteles always very careful when it comes to tariffs. It is especially noticeable in the higher segment, which experienced a drop of 15.5% in RevPAR in 2009 and, yet, another drop of 1.3% this year, sign of a limited margin of action towards the Leisure clientele. Either because of a shift of clientele or because of an improved attractiveness, the 3* segment is the leading one last August, posting an increase of 6.0% in RevPAR. The Economy and Budget segments remained stable.Back to normal. The RevPAR index has broken even on twelve rolling months and the French hotel industry is wiping off the effects of a difficult year. The upward trend is steadily engaged and the next months should confirm that all the lights are green. However, two categories have not yet fully benefited from it. In the regions, Economy hotel chains, even if they were quite reasonable in tariffs, faced a slight decrease in activity. In Paris, the deluxe segment is not at full speed in the recent months. It is still experiencing a lack of clients with high revenues and it must adjust its pricing to the demand of a Leisure clientele most cautious in its spendings. The phenomenon is more or less the same on the Riviera, another preferred destination for the international visitors. Along the French shores, especially along the Mediterranean sea, the domestic clientele seems to prefer alternative accommodation to hotels. On the other hand, urban tourism is gaining popularity, even more when the weather is bad, as it could be seen in Nord-Pas-de-Calais and in Lorraine, thanks to the extension of the Pompidou Centre in Metz.

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