In the world of global tourism, nothing changes fast. In 1980 France was the world’s most visited country with 30m tourists. In 2014 it was still the globe’s number one with 84m tourists.
That’s right. Some 15.5% of Europe’s holidaymakers, and 8% of the world’s tourists, still come to France EVERY SINGLE YEAR year. If only you owned an apartment there…
The nationality of these huge waves of visitors hasn’t changed much either. According to official French Ministry of Tourism figures, Brits still book the most stays in hotels and registered rental apartments (like those offered by Nice Pebbles). Around 5m per year in fact.
Americans come second with 4m hotel or apartment bookings, then Germans with 3m. Border-hopping Belgians and Italians are fourth and fifth. Swiss, Spaniards and Dutch come next.
Interestingly, according to the same Ministry statistics, 12.5% of tourism stays occur in just one region: Provence-Cote d’Azur. Now, if only you owned an apartment there…
But these same-same figures listed above could all change. Fast. One eastern country is flexing its tourism muscles and is starting to travel in stupendous numbers.
That nation is China. In 2013 100m Chinese travelled overseas. By 2020 that figure will top 200m. Their favourite destination in Europe? France.
Mainland travel agencies (Chinese still prefer to travel in organised groups, although this is changing rapidly) sent three times as many tourists to France as they did to the UK.
According to Britain’s Daily Telegraph, “Chinese visitors spend 40 per cent of their holiday budget on shopping, mostly for luxury goods. That compares to seven per cent for Britons.” French newspaper Le Figaro has started publishing a new luxury goods pull-out supplement. In Chinese.
China has 3m ‘Dollar Millionaires’. And France has just opened a new fast-track visa office in Beijing that dishes out tourist passes on the spot. So will they be coming to the Riviera soon?
They already are. Both Nice’s 5-star hotels and Nice Pebbles, the city’s premier holiday lettings company, are welcoming more Chinese guests than ever before. Breakfast offerings have been made larger (wealthy Chinese prefer to start the day with more than a mere croissant). And Bordeaux wines (a Chinese status symbol) are proffered to eastern guests.
Take a look at the Nice Pebbles rental and property sales sites in 12 months time. They might even be translated into Chinese…