Christmas holidays: the French stay at home

Usually, only 25% of French people go on Christmas holidays. At the end of the year, although they theoretically have the right to travel, the French will be half as likely (11%) to go on vacation, and four times less to leave France, revealed a study by Ifop for Odéro, early December.

Due to the Covid-19 epidemic and its health restrictions, the 2020 Christmas season promises to be the lowest in terms of tourist attendance for the past ten years.

The sea rather than the mountain

Another new element of the season, the French should favor seaside resorts to the detriment of mountain destinations which suffer from the compulsory closure of ski lifts. But this is probably not the only reason. The epidemic upsurge is more sensitive inland, in continental areas, where the climate is cold and dry, than in coastal regions where the air is mild and humid.

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Of “Vacation at home” in perspective, while “The sector continues to sink terribly”, deplores Didier Arino, director of the specialist firm Protourism, assuring not to have “Never seen such a low holiday departure rate”.

Less than 2.5% of the French population will go on vacation in commercial accommodation, a further disappointment for hoteliers, while those who can will go to a second home.

Wave of cancellations

The mountains are particularly penalized, with three times fewer reservations than last year, the announcement of the closure of the ski lifts having caused a wave of cancellations. “80% of people who had booked canceled or postponed”, reports Vincent Lalanne, director of the Val Thorens tourist office.

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In the Savoyard resort, no hotel will be open during the Christmas holidays, for lack of sufficient activity.

Conversely, the seaside resorts of the Channel and the Atlantic are benefiting from a sharp increase in the number of stays, up to 50% for some. The trend is also on the rise on the Mediterranean side, but at a much lower rate.

Lisbon, Marrakech and Porto are the most popular destinations

In search of the sun, other travelers have withdrawn to the Overseas Territories, and mainly the French Antilles, in order to enjoy the beach in winter without leaving French territory, on the condition, however, of presenting a Covid test. negative, less than 72 hours old.

Unsurprisingly, departures outside French borders will be rarer, less 70% compared to normal activity, according to the organization Les Entreprises du voyage. And those who leave will go less far. Lisbon, Marrakech and Porto are the most popular destinations. Cities like Bangkok or New York, inaccessible this year, are giving way to Istanbul or Dubai.


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