The occupancy rate of hotels in Corsica among the lowest in France
In July, the hotel park islander was only 59% occupied. A low number that professionals of the sector mainly allocated to the high cost of transport and competition from furniture of tourism. But more circumstantial causes certainly played a role.
The information was revealed by our colleagues from the newspaper The echoes in an article published a few days ago.
In July, the Corsican hotel industry recorded one of the lowest occupancy rates in France. Only 59.1% of the available beds were occupied, compared to 73% on average at the national level. A score that places the island in penultimate position, just above the Midi-Pyrénées region (57.8%) but far behind the Paca region (80.8%) or Languedoc-Roussillon (75.1 %).
This statistic is all the more disappointing as it is part of a downward trend compared to 2019 – the last financial year not affected by the Covid crisis. The mapping carried out by the economic daily reveals that the island is one of the territories recording a drop in the occupancy rate of between -3.6 and -5.4%, against only 2.8% at the national level.
“We were told big numbers for this summer but it’s not true, deplores Pierre Negretti, hotelier in Aregno-plage and regional president of the hotel branch of Umih (Union of hotel trades and industries). A lot of people may have come to Corsica but it didn’t benefit everyone.”
“I did a comparative study…”
The causes invoked by professionals in the sector are known. First of all, the competition brought by other forms of accommodation. “What has penalized us for several years is the development of seasonal rentals and non-market real estate, assures Jean-Christophe Barrau, manager of two hotels in the Restonica valley. We couldn’t find the right balance. Today, in Corsica, the supply of hotel beds is less important than the cumulative number of accommodation in furnished tourist accommodation and second homes. The proportion is about 45/55%.”
Another element put forward by the operators, the cost of transport.
To believe them, it would penalize the hotel sector by increasing the price of the Corsica destination too much. “Already there is the problem of insularity, which forces travelers to take their car by boat or rent a car when they get off the plane, continues Jean-Christophe Barrau. But in addition to this, there is a constant increase in the price of the trip. I did a small comparative study with Sardinia, the Balearic Islands and Madeira. From the Netherlands or Germany, the plane ticket to Corsica is always the most expensive.”
And the situation is not helping matters. According to The echoes, the rates charged in the island hotel industry are this year 20.1% higher than those of 2019. An increase which certainly remains below those observed in other regions (+34.7% in PACA) but which does not does not contribute to the attractiveness of the Corsica destination. In the two structures he operates, Jean-Christophe Barrau acknowledges having increased prices by 12 to 14% depending on the period.
But he assures that this increase is only intended to compensate for an increase in charges. “You should know that last March, the salary scale for hotel trades was revised and that a 20% increase in salaries was decided, emphasizes the professional. In addition to this, for reasons of attractiveness, I no longer require my employees to work on a break (with two separate shifts in the same day, editor’s note), which forced me to hire the equivalent of 4 full time and a half. These are personnel costs that we are obliged to pass on. Especially since, on the catering part, we do not have the possibility of increasing the prices too much because we are in competition with the other establishments in the micro-region.
“We are in the nails”
A subject on which Pierre Negretti wishes to deliver a clear message. “In Corsica, both the hotel and restaurant sectors charge normal prices, he insists. We are in the nails. You can’t go any lower, otherwise you’ll no longer be commendable, and you can’t go any higher, otherwise you’ll no longer be competitive.”
It remains to be seen whether the figures for August will be better than those for July. According to the Umih representative, it is too early to know: “The period from August 7 to 15 is very busy but, beyond that, we have no visibility. It seems that from the 21st, the reservation rate drops, but as people are booking more and more at the last minute, we can’t say yet.”