2022 trends and 2023 outlook

Local breaks, outdoor camping, rising hotel prices and the return of (some) international visitors were among the big tourism trends in France last year, according to new figures, as 2023 begins with a certain uncertainty.

Last year was hailed as the “back to normal” for the hospitality industry after two years of pandemic-driven chaos.

Visitor numbers, hotel room occupancy and passenger numbers at the airport were, however, below 2019 levels. Yet the sector still brought in almost 50 billion euros, according to the latest report on the economy of tourism published by the French tourism agency Atout France.

Major trends included:


Campsites recorded a 7.5% increase in attendance compared to 2019.

This has been attributed to several factors, including people’s desire for nearby open spaces post-lockdown and lower holiday budgets. The area is also attracting visitors with higher budgets as campsites and glamping spots become more upscale.

Read also: Home exchange in France gave us a dream family vacation in Grenoble

Outdoor attractions and theme parks

Outdoor attractions and theme parks also performed well. For example, in Ile-de-France, the Aventure Floréval and Winnoland parks saw their attendance increase by 27% and 29% respectively compared to 2019, according to figures from the regional tourism committee (CRT).

In the Loir-et-Cher, the Beauval zoo welcomed a record two million visitors in 2022, up 25% compared to 2019.

Theme parks belonging to Compagnie des Alpes (such as Parc Astérix and Futuroscope) also welcomed 10 million visitors; an increase of 6% compared to 2019.

And despite the rise in ticket prices, Compagnie des Alpes said people were still spending more than normal in hotels, shops and restaurants in the parks.

Tourists in France were less likely to leave their home region to go on vacation and also spent fewer nights, Atout France said. In addition, he found that 44% of French people did not go on vacation in the summer of 2022.

He blamed this on the global economic downturn.

Less frequented typically Parisian sites

Some typical Parisian tourist sites also turned out to be less crowded than in previous years, largely due to lower Asian footfall. The Louvre recorded 20% less ticket sales and the Palace of Versailles sold 17% less.

Elsewhere, Lourdes saw a third fewer pilgrims visit last year than its usual number.

The hotel occupancy rate and turnover are also down. Nationally, revenue decreased by 4.4% compared to 2019. This may be due to higher hotel room prices, which increased by 14% on average (above inflation) due to additional raw material and energy costs.

International, American and European customers have nevertheless largely returned to the hotel industry, the figures suggest. Yet business travel has yet to reach 2019 levels, although it has picked up again. In Ile-de-France, trade fairs recorded 1.3 million fewer visitors compared to 2019.

Tourist accommodation saw strong competition from alternatives such as campsites and Airbnbs.

Read also: Tourist tax: €148 million paid to French municipalities from Airbnb stays in 2022

Uncertainty 2023

So far, 2023 is shaping up to be an uncertain year for the sector. Rising costs for energy, raw materials and even wages could threaten the survival of small independent hotels.

Recruitment within the hospitality industry is also always difficult, especially for seasonal jobs.

Paris ranked “most powerful tourist city”

It comes as Paris has been named the ‘most powerful’ tourist city in the world in a study by UK non-profit, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

The city welcomed 34.5 million tourists in total in 2022. Its “powerful” ranking is also partly due to the investments made in the capital due to the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024. These included investments in the infrastructure and resources needed to secure the event.

Read also: Paris 2024 Olympics: How to become a volunteer?

The WTTC also took into account the amount of money spent by tourists, whether on hotel rooms or on tourist activities such as museum visits. In 2022, visitors to the city spent a record €35 ​​billion.

Beijing, China, came in second behind Paris. Two other Chinese cities also made it into the top 10: Shanghai in 4th and Guangzhou in 10th. The WTTC predicts that over the next 10 years, all of the top 10 will be in China.

In a press release, Julia Simpson, President and CEO of the WTTC, said: “Major cities like London, Paris and New York will remain global powerhouses, but over the next few years Beijing, Shanghai and Macau will rise in the list of major urban destinations.

The United States also has three entries in the top 10; Orlando, Las Vegas and New York. These receive significant revenue due to theme parks, nightlife and gambling, food, and culture, respectively.

The amount of money spent by tourists is however not the only factor in the list. Tokyo, Mexico City and London also feature in the rankings, in part due to their historical significance and recent appearance in global media.

Dubai and Doha were also included for this reason, partly due to the recent FIFA World Cup.

On the other hand, the list does not include cities like Amsterdam, Barcelona or Singapore, despite their high tourism spending.

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