During the financial crisis many airports struggled. Nice Cote d’Azur has welcomed increasing numbers every year. In 2012 it broke its own record of 11m arrivals, a greater number than Prague, London Luton, Gran Canaria and most other capital, low cost and tourism hubs.
Its network reach also spread over the last five years. Few regional airports connect to Moscow, New York, Montreal, Istanbul, Qatar and Dubai. In private aviation terms, Nice Airport is now Europe’s third most popular destination, behind Geneva and Paris-Le Bourget. (Not that I expect Pebbles clients to fly in by private jet, but you get the picture.)
The statistics above speak above for themselves. But that’s not all.
Nice recently became a hub for both Air France and easyJet, the airport’s principal operators. That means that both airlines serve a vast number of routes (19 for Air France, 26 for easyJet), bringing in more business and leisure passengers than ever before.
So what does that mean for property investment in Nice? Let me give you three opinions:
1) Rental and sale prices of Nice properties are likely to rise. There have been no significant hotel openings in the city since the Palais de la Méditerranée was renovated in 2003. The difference between rocketing airport arrivals and a stagnant total of hotel beds has been mostly taken up by holiday rental agencies like Nice Pebbles. Unless a score of hotels suddenly opens in 2014, that trend won’t go away.
2) Nice Cote d’Azur will become better connected than every before. That’s a given. Innovations like free Vélo Bleu bikes and Auto Bleu shared cars (both of which are now lined up outside the terminals) are in their infancy. With some degree of hindsight, local authorities have also started work on the city-to-terminal tram link, which will shuttle travellers right into the city centre from 2017.
3) Nice itself will become even more of a commutable business hub. Global banks, trilingual locals and the growing ubiquity of Skype allow more individuals to be based in Nice than ever before. Once installed, the city’s famed 300 days of sun per year keeps them content. And those 45 European connections from Air France and easyJet will make the city more business-friendly than ever before.
Ps. Nice Cote d’Azur airport recently announced its 2013 arrival figures. With a record-breaking 11,554,195 arrivals, it looks like Riviera tourism is here to stay.