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PACA: “Without the growth of Airbnb, Summer 2015 would have been perfect!”

The CRT releases its assessment of the season

When evaluating the Summer 2015 season, the tourism professionals of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and their representatives are satisfied overall. The number of tourists has significantly increased in the region. But the Director of CRT PACA laments about the unfair competition of some rental platforms between individuals that hurts hoteliers in the region.

Rédigé par Pierre Coronas translated by Joséphine Foucher le Vendredi 28 Août 2015

Gordes Villa in Vaucluse -  Photo : vouvraysan -
Gordes Villa in Vaucluse - Photo : vouvraysan -
With a very busy month of August, like always, and a month of July on a steady rise, particularly this year, the summer season 2015 ending in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA) is “quite exceptional”, according to Bruno James, Executive Director of CRT PACA.

Tourists definitely showed up because with 111 million night stays, the visitor rate has increased by 4.5% this summer in the region (106 million nights in summer 2014.)

Volumes that obviously contribute to increasing the satisfaction rate of tourism professionals. According to studies made by Carniel and Protourisme towards 639 professionals, 78% reply feeling satisfied with the summer season (+13 points compared to 2014.) And for the month of August alone, the satisfaction rate is at 83%.

And the feedbacks are good everywhere in the region. “The summer season benefited all parts of the region: the coastline and inland, major cities and the mountains,” notes Bruno James.

Furthermore, all of the different types of accommodations experienced a wonderful summer 2015. The visitor rate of campings and lodges rose by 3%, 3.5% for hotels, and 6.5% for tourism residences.

+25 to 30% growth for Airbnb

Tourism representatives of the PACA region gave their assessment of the summer in Marseille on Thursday August 27, 2015 - Photo J.D.L
Tourism representatives of the PACA region gave their assessment of the summer in Marseille on Thursday August 27, 2015 - Photo J.D.L
Despite these great results, there is still one obstacle that the CRT PACA is facing with when providing its assessment on the summer.

Because even though all the modes of accommodation did, indeed, welcome a lot of people, there is another one for whom the season was particularly splendid: rental between individuals.

In the region, the main actor of the market is Abritel. And for the operator, the season was rather positive with an increase of 3% for the summer 2015.

However, its largest competitor, the famous and very trending Airbnb, records growth rates between 25% and 30% for the summer 2015.

A priori, this should not pose problem to local tourism representatives. Except that, in fine print, individuals who rent their accommodation to a vacationer do not abide to the same rules as hoteliers.

The latter thus complain about an “unacceptable fiscal inequality,” laments the Executive Director of CRT PACA.

He pleads for “fiscal equity with hoteliers.” And for this he aims for “strong collaborative action” to incite authorities to take measures similar to what is currently being done in Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, San Francisco or New York.

For Bruno James, the important growth of the use of this type of platform for vacation home rental in PACA is a “real problem and one of the marking factors of this season.”

Tourism residences as an alternative to Airbnb

Other than the adoption of legal measures, the solution to fight this phenomena may already exist in the region.

To find it, we have to go the High-Alps.

In this department, numerous tourism residences have seen the light of day in the last 5 years.

First aimed at winter vacations, they now welcome tourists even in the summer.

The High-Alps record, for now, 30,000 beds in tourism residences. Which accounts for 18% of the department’s rental stock. And “they apply a pricing policy that is very interesting,” explains Roland Roussel, Director of ADDET 05.

Relatively low rates that allow to attract vacationers with tighter budgets. Hence, tourism residences constitute an “interesting balance to Airbnb because they stand on the same market,” adds Roland Roussel.

Here is an idea for the PACA region that, furthermore, could enable to “democratize” the region’s image that is often seen as a luxury destination out of reach for international travelers.

PACA: Summer 2015 numbers

- 111 million night stays, or 50% of the annual visitor rate for the region
- 1.8 million tourists daily
- 6.6 billion euros in tourism earnings
- 60 euros of average daily spending per person
- 164,000 tourism jobs, accounting for 8% of total employment
- 13% of the region's annual GDP

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