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Keep your eyes peeled for les Français this summer

Keep your eyes peeled for les Français this summer

You’ll never make a million by renting your Nice apartment to Swiss tourists. At least that’s according to the latest French government tourism statistics.

Because the biggest holidaymakers in France aren’t Americans (third). Or Spanish (in second place). In terms of spend, number of trips and nights it’s the French themselves that take the title.

By delving deeper into the data we can understand the where, the why and the how much of their home-grown hols.

Firstly, French tourism within France is rock solid. Frenchies made almost exactly 180m internal ‘voyages’ every single year since 2010.

Their favourite of France’s 22 regions? Not Paris, surprisingly. Nor the Rhone-Alpes region, which come a close second. Our French friends love the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region best of all, and spend more nights here than anywhere else.

What also bodes well for Riviera holiday homeowners is the length of time locals spend in the region. On average it’s exactly seven nights, the perfect duration for a holiday let. (Only in Corsica, a land of campsites and campervans, do visitors holidaymakers for longer – 13 nights to be exact).

So why do the French adore the Cote d’Azur? Yes, it’s sunny, sexy and has a film set beauty. There are also no currency fluctuations, a big factor with the weakening Euro. But the official tourism stats also lend a clue. When French holiday at home they prefer to travel by car or motorbike (80%) or by train (15%). Only 1% brave Air France’s summer strikes. Nice, Cannes and Antibes are among the best connected cities in France – a fact that keeps Frenchies coming in by the million.

So how you can make more money by marketing to the French? Placing it with a fully registered, French-speaking rental agency like Pebbles will certainly help.

It’s also worth noting when locals like to travel. Between 10m and 15m tourist trips are taken every month. But in May (the Bank Holiday season) and July (school’s out) internal voyages top 20m. And in August it’s 30m. If you can avoid holidaying yourself in those top three months you’re on to a winner.

And finally, a word of caution. Don’t get too excited. Because a mammoth 60% of French don’t pay for a holiday, preferring instead to stay with family and friends. But of that remainder, more locals stay in a holiday rental apartment than stay in a hotel, a campsite or in their own second home. That’s good news for us all.

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