Outbound tourism in France is growing again, at least in terms of international destinations. The first assessment of the results of the season, compiled by French tour operators over the period spanning the 1st of April 2016 to the 28th of February 2017, is, overall, promising and shows a small increase in business volume compared to the previous fiscal period (+0.9%), reaching 943 million euros, even though the number of passengers – some 725.980 – decreased slightly (-0.5 %).
The unit revenue increased by 1.4% throughout the period, reaching 1.299 euros, as was indicated by the professional union Seto.
France is struggling as a destination (the beginning of the ski season was complicated), with a diminished business volume (-7.5%) and number of clients (-7.3%), and the recovery is clearly based on foreign destinations.
The business volume of outbound tourism grew by 4.1% for medium-haul destinations and by 1.8% for long-haul ones, the number of clients increasing by 0.5% and 3.5% respectively. While “conventional” destinations such as the Canary Islands – leading destination abroad for French tourists – or the Dominican Republic are showing “good performance”, North Africa (+6.9% globally), overlooked these last few years, is slowly becoming popular with tourists again.
Tunisia in particular – the former leading foreign destination for French tourists – the popularity of which continues to be in free-fall ever since the “Arab Spring” and the terrorist attacks to which it was victim, saw an 88.3% increase in the number of its clients during this period. Even Egypt has seen a modest increase in its numbers (+15.2%).
Outbound Tourism in France:
Top 5 long-haul destinations
Dominican Republic 41,812 customers (+8.7%)
Mauritius 26 833 customers (-4.6%)
Cuba 24,441 customers (+5.2%)
Thailand 23,863 customers (+ 15%)
French West Indies 23,466 customers (89.4%)
Top 5 medium-haul destinations
Canary Islands 86,444 customers (+ 13,2%)
Morocco 36,427 customers (-1,9%)
Continental Italy 21,709 customers (-17,03%)
Mainland Spain 16,175 customers (-22.7%)
Portugal continental 10.233 customers (+ 4.6%)
For this summer, experts are particularly optimistic. The outbound tourism in France is expected to bring about 7% more in revenues for the tour operators. Based on early reservations, the “flagship destinations” will continue to grow, with +10% rate for Greece, +4% for Italy and +2% for Spain. Also, the recovery is confirmed for Tunisia (+ 63%), Morocco gaining 36%. Regarding the long-haul, South Africa (+209%) is on the rise, as well as Cape Verde (+65%) and Indonesia (+61%).