Tourism “on the road”, response to COVID-19?

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Tourism “on the road”, a new way of travelling while respecting barrier gestures. This form of tourism is emerging more and more and is gaining popularity. Cheap it attracts holidaymakers who like to crisscross France. Still relevant, COVID-19 encourages tourists to turn to new, more local destinations. Regional destinations, which do everything to be as attractive as possible in order to revive the tourist economy. Trends are emerging in the face of this health crisis, which may well become long-term habits. Camping-Car, travel by car rather than train, local rediscoveries, the French are redoubling their idea in order to enjoy a decidedly different summer.

A French summer holiday

This time of year is particularly expected. The summer holidays are the time for the French to decompress. Attendance of 9.8 million tourists in France in 2019 according to INSEE during the summer period. Summer is at its peak for the tourism sector. This year, however, they will be placed under the banner of prevention. Indeed, the COVID-19 virus has disrupted the plans of many holidaymakers, the borders with foreign countries being closed. According to an IFOP survey from July 2020, 46% of French people do not want to go on holiday this summer. At issue is the fear of COVID but also the loss of income in some households, due to partial unemployment.

However, 54% of the population say they want to go on holiday and only 9% say they want to go abroad. This figure is down significantly compared to other years.

However, while there will be few starting this summer, trends are towards new modes of consumption and transport.

Indeed, the health crisis has given rise to fears about public transport. According to IFOP, 36% of French people want to prefer walking or cycling for their trip.

In order to move in peace and discover the regions of France, more and more prefer the motorhome. Today, according to the Federation of Campers, Caravanners and Campers, there are 505,000 motorhomes in circulation in France. Vehicles that are better and better equipped like Tiny Houses.

Towards attractive infrastructure for holidays

Having understood this new trend, local authorities are organizing to offer attractive infrastructure on rest areas. Water points, electricity, waste collection points, many improvements are made in order to make the passage of holidaymakers convenient. According to INSEE in 2010, equipped spaces accounted for 30% of reserved nights. In 2017, this figure is up, accounting for 46% of overnight stays.

Proof of the attractiveness of these sites, two new areas for motorhomes have just been created. One in Vendée, not surprising when we know that the first followers of this mode of transport live in the Loire region according to the FFCC. Located in the heart of the Poitevin Marsh Regional Natural Park. The area has all the necessary equipment such as WiFi, customer assistance and access to drinking water according to the Mayor of Triaize, Guy Barbot.

A second Camping-Park was born in Gironde in Saint Sulpice de Faleyrens. Located a few steps from many shops and with the same state-of-the-art facilities. According to the FFCC, in 2018, the third favourite destination for campers is New Aquitaine. At issue is the mild climate, the fact that the region has diverse landscapes between the sea and forests. New Aquitaine is just behind Brittany and the PACA region. Choices of locations that are therefore not left to chance.

The creativity of the regions in the face of COVID-19

Faced with containment, the regions organized themselves to limit the losses due to the absence of foreign tourists. Like Brittany, which launched a major communication campaign by hijacking the names of its cities in order to make them tropical.

Other regions, such as New Aquitaine, have set up aid for the French to come and spend a weekend. For example, you must have booked two nights in Charente-Maritime, eaten in a typical restaurant and then leisureed in order to receive a refund of one hundred euros on the stay.

In Bordeaux, the Regional Tourism Committee has set up an action with AirBNB. The promotion of AirBNB by the CRT in exchange for information on tourist flows. Una way to inform and adapt the proposals to make the region attractive.

According to Christian Mourisard, President of the Federation of Tourist Offices of France, the drop in tourism activity will lead to a loss of 8% on French GDP for the year 2020.

While it is certain that the COVID-19 crisis has led to many changes, the response of holidaymakers has not been long in coming. Aware that it will be still waiting before tourist trips abroad resume, the French are turning to more local destinations. They are also solicited by regions that are redoubling their creativity in order to attract tourists. The holidays are therefore organized according to the context this year. Following COVID-19, tourists want to travel to more rural areas and close to nature. After spending time in an apartment or in the city, it is a desire to reconnect with nature, and to be in a more intimate setting, to recharge.


Tourism Review 2019 – Tourist attendance at the zenith – INSEE 28/11/2019

Reinventing France – French lifestyles and expectations after this unprecedented crisis – IFOP 03/07/2020

Key figures – FFCC

Season 2018: Dynamic camping attendance – INSEE 01/28/2019

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