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This summer's trends: cool coastlines and greenery?

Between major events, changes in vacationers' behaviour and heatwaves, a look at the trendy destinations of this first month of school holidays in France. (3/3)

In addition to major events, July 2019 was particularly marked by two factors that led many holidaymakers to change their destination.

On the one hand, holidaymakers are increasingly aware of the principles of sustainable development, leading to increasing awareness of the impact of tourists on their environment, particularly in terms of pollution (see the article on the ecotax imposed on air transport following plane bashing) and waste disposal. This reality has been increasingly reported by public authorities and major international bodies such as the WTO (World Tourism Organisation) and UNESCO (the United Nations body responsible for the protection and promotion of education, science and culture). It has prompted some of the French population to opt for nearby or even domestic destinations, particularly to avoid traveling by plane.

Another, much more trivial factor has greatly changed the expectations of this mid-summer season, once a symbol of sun, beaches and palm trees: the heat wave. Record temperatures were surpassed in the penultimate week of July and peaked on the 25th of the month. That day, it was warmer in Paris (42.6°) than in Dubai (40°) in the United Arab Emirates, a city renowned for its high temperatures in summer.

Nicolas Dayot, president of the National federation of outdoor hospitality (FNHPA), explains the consequences of this temperature surge on the sector throughout France:

The heat wave had a negative impact on campgrounds in the southern part of France, particularly Occitanie, PACA, Ardèche and Dordogne, inversely campgrounds in Normandy, Brittany and the north shore filled up.

For the hotel industry, the impact is very similar: cooler coastal areas such as Brittany (OR up +2.4 pts, 2nd strongest growth) and Nouvelle Aquitaine (OR +1.2 pt) had the wind in its sails. Greener destinations such as Auvergne (OR +5.8 pts), Bourgogne-Franche Comté (OR +2.1 pts) and the East (OR +1.8 pt) also produced good results during this week of intense heat.

For example, the impact is very visible between July 21 and 27 throughout Auvergne. The occupancy rate surpassed last year's results on several occasions, and fluctuated between 59% Saturday, July 21 and 91% Saturday, July 27, an peaked at 94% on Friday, July 26, the day that followed the hottest day of the week.

Interestingly, hoteliers, not expecting such a situation and consequently an influx of tourists, did not significantly change their prices, so the average daily rate is relatively stable in these different regions: in Brittany (+0.80%), Nouvelle Aquitaine (+0.30%), Auvergne (+0.40%), or in Burgundy-Franche-Comté (+1.60%). Only Normandy saw its occupancy rate drop (-2.7 pts) but nonetheless kept its prices on an uptrend (+5.50%) to achieve positive growth in RevPAR by +1.80%.

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