The positive trend perceived during the summer season seems to continue in the off-season according to the latest report published by ADN Tourisme, suggesting a radiant end of the year 2022 as well as a year 2023 on the tourist level, despite the economic and geopolitical situation.
The Indian summer has greatly benefited the French tourism professionals as underlined by the latest data from ADN Tourisme. Indeed, 3 French destinations out of 5 have noted an increase in their attendance during the off-season compared to 2021, particularly during the months of September and the All Saints' Day holidays.
This satisfaction is all the more marked in urban destinations, where almost 80% announced an increase in visitor numbers compared to the 2021 off-season. Nevertheless, the largest share is in coastal destinations, with 63% of them announcing sustained attendance higher than that of the 2021 off-season, and even, for some, that of the 2019 off-season for nearly 40% of destinations.
In rural areas, the number of visitors in the 2022 off-season is increasing for nearly 60% of respondents, despite a slight disappointment as it was "less than expected" for 1 in 5 respondents. Finally, the pre-crisis level has been regained and equalled for 58% of mountain destinations, with 48% of them announcing an increase in visitor numbers compared to the 2021 back season.
While domestic customers continued to visit France during the off-season, tourism professionals also witnessed the marked return of European customers, particularly the British, Belgians, Swiss and Germans. In addition, this period was also favourable for the return of certain long-haul nationalities, including North Americans.
The performance recorded in urban destinations also reflects the continuing recovery of business tourism. These figures give cause for optimism for the coming year in the MICE sector, as a survey conducted by Amex GBT also highlights. Two thirds of them expect the number of face-to-face events to return to pre-pandemic levels within one to two years. In the US, the number of meetings in some months and locations has exceeded 2019 levels, while small and simple meetings have increased by 25%.
Despite inflation, the war in Ukraine and fuel shortages, French tourists intend to continue travelling in 2023. According to a study published by Skyscanner, 40% of consumers plan to go on holiday in 2023 as much as in 2022, and 1 in 3 French people even plan to go away more often next year.
In addition, 68% of French travellers plan to spend as much or more on foreign travel next year, but the way they spend their money will be different. In order to make holidays a priority expenditure item, the French will have to adapt to the inflationary context. While they are looking for inexpensive destinations, the search for lesser-known places that offer new experiences is also being prioritised.
Travel in 2023 will still be about nature, as the health crisis has awakened a deep need to reconnect with the environment. This goes hand in hand with the trend to take time for oneself, with holidays representing a wellness bubble for many tourists. And for a growing percentage of travellers, holidays are synonymous with solo adventures.
As the pandemic has profoundly changed the way we travel and work, it will not be uncommon to come across holidaymakers with their work computers. Indeed, 26% of respondents choose to combine personal travel with business travel, while 37% go so far as to say they like to work while they travel. More and more destinations are responding to this demand by offering visas to digital nomads, as is the case in Malta, which wants to position itself on this new and growing market.
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