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France: February brings the first fruits of recovery

The drop by -1.1% in the RevPAR for the month of February does not yet have the stuff to make the hotel industry celebrate, but the slightest sign of improvement is welcome. For comparison purposes, the drop recorded on twelve months was 8.1%. In fact, the decrease of the difference with respect to the year 2009, one of the worst in the recent history of the hotel industry, confirms the beginning of the recovery. It is shrinking gradually towards 0%. Optimistic observers will see it as a sign that the trend is turning around, especially since the segments that are most sensitive to cyclical change, the 4* and to a lesser extent 3*, are improving. While prices are not yet back on an uptrend, upscale clientele are making a progressive return. This is particularly true in Paris, and the capital ended the month on a positive note. The 0-2* segment, on the other hand, which took more time to enter the crisis, is still recovering from the ongoing moroseness of the economy. The provinces, also less susceptible to the fluctuations of international tourism, are also slower to benefit from new opportunities.The Ile-de-France region is feeling the first twinges of a tremor with an improvement in the RevPAR, while the Côte d'Azur accumulated the negative phenomena at the beginning of the year. The influence of business tourism is strong at this time of year. Tourism in February is not the busiest so the slightest change in the calendar of events is often synonymous with an important change in business. The rarefaction of corporate events during times of crisis, in Cannes in particular, explains the bad results in the region. Toulouse, Lyon and Lille also felt the impact of saw-toothed occupancy. Inversely, Bordeaux, Nice and Rennes come out of this February uplifted. The Languedoc-Roussillon region also benefited from a busier calendar than in 2009. Stronger congress, salon and seminar activity at the Corum in Montpellier, and up go the occupancy rates of hotels by nearly 7 points from one year to the next, putting higher pressure on average daily rates.

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