According to INSEE data, during the past summer season, 332 million overnight stays were recorded in tourist accommodation. That is 2.4 percent more than in 2019.
The tourism sector will soon turn the page on Covid. With 322 million overnight stays in France between April and September 2022, in hotels, campsites and other residences, attendance increased by 2.4% during the last summer season compared to the same period in 2019, the year before the pandemic. The INSEE survey published on Wednesday.
The French clientele, which achieved 5.3% of additional overnight stays during the summer of 2022 (228.8 million), largely explains this increase, while the number of foreign tourists is still below the pre-crisis level (-4.2% of overnight stays in April-September), even if a gradual return of this clientele has been observed since July. We’ll come back to that.
Camping, the first type of accommodation
With 136 million overnight stays, campsites accounted for 40% of activity in the tourist accommodation sector in the summer of 2022. Their attendance in that period jumped 7.5% compared to 2019, while hotels (-0.8%) and tourist residences , tourist resorts and other holiday homes (-1.6%) did not quite return to the pre-Covid level.
The highest quality campsites (4 or 5 stars) that achieved 58% of overnight stays in the campsites are the main winners, with a 15% increase in attendance compared to 2019 and even 20% for overnight stays by resident guests. Hit hard by the pandemic, high-end hotels also fared well compared to other establishments with growth of 5.5%.
Strong recovery in Guadeloupe, Brittany and Normandy
The recovery of tourist activity during the summer of 2022 can be seen in all regions, with the exception of Mayotte (-2.8%), Ile-de-France (-2.1% of overnight stays compared to 2019) and Grand Est (- 0, 8%). Guadeloupe (+19.5%), Brittany (+7.3%) and Normandy (+6.4%) recorded the largest increase.
Coastal areas attracted more tourists (+5% overnight stays nationally) than rural areas (+4.3%), mountain ranges (+1.3%) or cities (-1.4%).
Due to the hot weather that marked the summer of 2022, tourists mainly flocked to the coast of Normandy (+10.3%), Brittany (+7.3%) and Hauts-de-France (+8.9%). The increase in the frequency of beaches in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (+4.2%) and in New Aquitaine (+2.5%) was, on the other hand, more moderate.
Foreign tourists have been returning since July
While non-resident visitation remained below pre-Covid levels during the summer period, the gap gradually narrowed, until the trend reversed in September (+0.7% overnight stays in September compared to September 2019).
With 70.8 million overnight stays in continental France between April and September (+1.6% compared to 2019), European customers confirmed their return to France, especially German tourists (+11.2%), Dutch (+6, 9%) and Switzerland (+17.9%) %). On the other hand, the number of British customers remained 14.2% lower than in 2019, the last year before Brexit took effect. Spaniards (-9.6%) and Italians (-3.1%) are also less likely to choose France for their vacation.
As for non-European buyers, overnight stays by Chinese (-83.4%) and Japanese (-82.6%) tourists were far from returning to pre-crisis levels due to pandemic-related travel restrictions still in place to Asia in the spring of 2022. As for US customer traffic, it remains 8.2% below pre-Covid levels.