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SETO Barometer: a nearly stable summer, and an encouraging winter

SETO Indicators released at IFTM Top Résa

Unsurprisingly, Middle-Eastern and North African destinations are strongly impacted by the terrorist attacks and reluctance of French tourists to visit Muslim countries. As for Southern Europe, it is leading in popularity, according to the biannual summer Barometer conducted by the SETO and presented at the IFTM.

Rédigé par C.E. at IFTM translated by Joséphine Foucher le Mercredi 30 Septembre 2015

René-Marc Chikli, and Salma Elloumi Rekik, Tourism Minister of Tunisia, during SETO’s press briefing.
René-Marc Chikli, and Salma Elloumi Rekik, Tourism Minister of Tunisia, during SETO’s press briefing.
René-Marc Chikli, President of the SETO, presented the intermediate results, up to August 31st, of the biannual summer 2015 barometer (05/01/2015 to 08/31/2015) at IFTM Top Resa.

In this period, the member tour-operators of the union recorded revenues for packaged holidays of €1,823 million, a nearly stable number (-0.5%) compared to the same period last year.

The number of clients is decreasing by 2.5% (1,891,821 clients), whereas the unit earnings increased by 2%, for an amount of €964.

Looking at the specifics, sales in France amount to a turnover of €190 million, an increase of 2.3% for a rising number of clients by 3.9% (360,575 pax), and median unit earnings of €526 (-1.6%).

The long-haul sector is also on the rise, with revenues of +0.8% boosted by an increase in unit earnings (+2.4% at €2,231.) However, the number of clients is on a -1.5% decline (211,213 clients).

As for summer departures, the United States leads the way (-7%), impacted by the evolution of exchange rates. Also on the decline are the French West indies (-19%) and Indonesia (also -19%.)

Medium-haul: revenues at -1.5%

As for major successes, Cuba boomed tremendously (+81%.) “It is THE star of the summer and of this winter,” comments René-Marc Chikli.

In the Top 5 rising destinations, there is Japan (+39%) that reached an “absolute record” according to Jean-Paul Chantraine, CEO of Asia, and the Seychelles (+20%) that benefits from the comeback of Air Seychelles' direct flight departing from Paris.

Canada (+25%), Peru (+23%) and Thailand (+18%) are also doing quite well.

Medium-haul destinations, however, are dropping by -1.5% in revenues. The number of clients is decreasing by 4.2% but with an increase of the unit earning by 2.9% (€880.)

This negative evolution is maintained in all of the North African and Middle Eastern destinations. Morocco (-30%), Turkey (-36%) and finally Tunisia (-55%), affected by the Bardo and Sousse terrorist attacks, record the largest declines.

“The French market, contrarily to other markets, is making amalgams that are directly reverberated on these destinations,” analyzes René-Marc Chikli.

However, the Southern Europe destinations are benefiting from this: continental Greece (+21%), Canary islands (+31%), continental Spain (+10%), Portugal (+34%) all display double digit growth rates.

SETO also studied the evolution of destinations in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) in the last 10 years.

Results: tour-operators lost 750,000 clients between 2005 and 2015, especially starting 2010-2011, during the Arab Spring uprisings, leading to an 18 points drop.

Winter: revenues increase by 9.5%

As for winter, by the end of August, the season is committed at 20%.

On the November 2015 - late March 2016 period (not counting the month of April 2016), the number of clients is increasing by 5.8% with revenues increasing by 9.5%.

The first indicators prove a great start for the Canary Islands and Finland.

However, Morocco trails behind and very few reservations have been made in Egypt and Tunisia. Medium-haul destinations are seeing a 2.2% decrease in the number of clients and -5.7% in terms of revenues.

For long-haul destinations, Cuba and Canada are off to a flying start, whereas Mexico and Senegal are “significantly lagging behind.” In total, in this segment, the number of clients is on the rise by +12.0% for equally increasing revenues by +13.4%.

“We sense that spending on travels is picking up again,” analyzes SETO’s president, while remaining cautious.

The season kick-off is marked by 4 factors: a general feeling that the economic situation has improved (ie: fuel prices, interest rates, taxes…), a school vacation calendar that allows for an earlier start of the 2016 summer season for several destinations in Southern Europe, North African and Middle Eastern destinations that cannot retrieve positive growth rates, new destinations offered by tour-operators (Haiti), and stronger programs on other countries (Cuba.)

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