Research Insights What recovery looks like in the French travel market

What recovery looks like in the French travel market

July 2020
Phocuswright Research

Beginning in early June, travel restrictions were cautiously being lifted in France. Both domestic and intra-European travel are now permitted, with travel to/from select countries outside Europe scheduled to recommence beginning on July 1. As a result, both travel suppliers and intermediaries are revving their engines according to Phocuswright‘s latest travel research report France Travel Market Update 2020, hoping to profit from the deluge of French consumers eager to escape from months of self-isolation and take advantage of their newfound liberty.

Despite the loosening of travel restrictions, the short-term outlook for the travel market in France remains poor, with gross revenue expected to fall by more than 52% in 2020, compared to 2019 figures.

France Travel Market Phocuswright
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As a result of the downturn, what remains of the peak holiday season will be significantly different from the traditional (primarily August-focused) three-week extended vacation that is common in France. Frustrated consumers are likely to seek out a number of shorter breaks immediately before work returns to normal. And with travel restrictions easing so close to the summer period, employers may ask employees to defer vacations to get companies up and running more quickly. Trips are also likely to be domestic (or at least within a drivable distance), with many travelers still reluctant to take trains or planes. On a more positive note, most consumers will still have the majority of their generous vacation days left, which will eventually contribute to a slow but steady recovery in domestic demand as the year ends.

Sentiment among travel suppliers is that French consumers will resume domestic travel in the summer. However, in many cases this will mean visiting friends and family or making use of secondary homes, and therefore the impact on travel revenue is likely to be muted. With the supply of train seats and flights limited due to continuing social distancing measures, recovery after the initial June boom is likely to be gradual, and extend past the traditional September 1 "rentrée" (return to school/work) into the fourth quarter. While better than nothing, this business will be significantly less than normal revenue levels, with a return to previous booking volumes not predicted until at least mid- to late-2021, with even this highly dependent on the development of an effective coronavirus vaccine. With recession looming, tough times are likely to continue for the majority of suppliers and intermediaries operating in the French market.

Download the full report here, which presents a high-level overview of the French travel market in 2020, including the impact of the pandemic on major players, key segment analysis, and sizing and projections through 2020.

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