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Leisure Residences narrower perspectives

While tourism residences in rural revitalization zones (ZRR) supported development over recent years, the time has now come for greater moderation. Not that the positive effect of ZRRs on the expansion of the French tourism offer into areas that few had ventured into should be brought into question, but because today the best spots are gone. The bankruptcy of many operators should toll the bell on projects that started out badly, in zones that are not very productive, with, in parallel, greater control by local associations collectivités.Thus, with the abandon of geographic zoning benefiting from the effects of tax exemption, we may observe a return to the traditional regions for the development of tourism residences. With one major problem: these already represent a very important share of the supply of accommodations and the available real estate is becoming especially rare. Rare but not inexistent for smaller and upscale projects as the openings of Lagrange in the Alps and along the Mediterranean show (see interview with Laurence Picano). Another solution for making a space for itself, used by Pierre & Vacances: the current extension of the resort in Avoriaz involving the construction of new apartments under the upscale brands MGM and Pierre & Vacances Premium, as well as Maeva. This investment of 200 million euros also includes the construction of a water park. Park&Suites is also developing an original Village concept. This will result in residences grouped together on the outskirts of major cities to accommodate businessmen traveling with their families or long-stay tourists. “Today we have 9 villages, with average daily rates lower than in the center of town but compensated for by occupancy rates of 90 to 95% year round.”While available space is rare, pre-existing properties nonetheless present several challenges, starting with the renovation of the existing supply, which are sometimes thirty years old, as Gérard Brémond explains (see interview p.61). Nonetheless, for leaders on the sector, the growth engines are now located mostly on the urban sector or that of Leisure destinations such as Center Parcs or the Animal’Explora project that Lagrange is working on. Final solution: exportation of the concept that is still not very developed abroad. Lagrange will soon establish itself across the on Franco-Swiss border in Champéry, taking over a project begun by Maisons de Biarritz. Pierre & Vacances brings its gaze even further and has ambitious goals for countries on the Mediterranean such as Spain, Italy.Moderate development, Laurence Picano, communications manager, Lagrange group“Our growth will mostly concentrate on Lagrange City for urban residences and Lagrange Prestige for tourism residences with 6 to 8 new residences each year. Today, we already have a strong presence in the Pyrénées, but there is still potential in the Alps, with the commercialization of a project at Pralognan La Vanoise. This represents the profile we are looking for in properties: an ideal location at the bottom of the slopes, facing due south, in a village and not a ski factory. Along the coast, we just opened a residence in Six-Fours les Plages, on the island of Embiez. And other projects are under study around the Mediterranean basin. On the Atlantic coast we are commercializing a residence in Biarritz, which should also be followed by others. The final major dossier: Animal’Explora in Chaumont, in Haute Marne. This tourism residence will mark the center of this wildlife park that is under development (Editor’s note: opening scheduled in 2013). A wellness space and installations for accommodating seminars and incentives are also planned. Our role as tour operator should bring a great deal to this real project led by ODIT France.”

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