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Smell the money. Over 50% of Riviera tourists drive south each summer

Smell the money. Over 50% of Riviera tourists drive south each summer

Nice Cote d’Azur Airport is our lifeline isn’t it? It flew 12m passengers last year. That’s more than ever before.

It’s busier, too, that the tourism aviation hubs of Tenerife, Prague and London-Luton. France’s second airport jets to 105 global destinations. This summer it adds new routes to Istanbul, Tel-Aviv and Montreal.

But this statistic will shock you. According to the French Riviera Tourism Observatory (the databank for the region’s biggest revenue earner), only 28% of tourists arrived by air. A significant proportion arrived by train (15%). While a few hardy souls peddled in by bike (1%).

The key figure? Some 55% of tourists brought their hard-earned cash to the South of France by car. Four wheels, not two wings. That’s twice as many as easyJet, Air France, Jet2, BA and all the rest put together.

Perhaps those figures aren’t surprising. The highest proportion of visitors (and therefore the greatest bookers of hotels and holiday rental apartments) are French. Only 16% of Frenchies jet in.

The largest foreign tourism contingent on the Cote d’Azur (17%) are Italians. Ever been stuck in front of a beeping Fiat driven by a madman with Milanese license plates? Yep, so have we all. They drive over. The border is 30km away. It figures.

So, how to turn this nugget of knowledge into extra holiday rental revenue? Three ways.

Firstly, buying a Nice property with parking would help. But a private parking space costs between €30,000 and €60,000. And they’re difficult to find. That’s why all local hotels charge between €20 and €40 per night for parking spots.

Secondly, educate your rental guests about parking options. Nice is blessed with two dozen vast underground lots. The newest car park opened in Nice Port in July 2016. Make a local parking map and email it to your guests. It might make the difference between a guest renting your place or not. (Naturally, Nice Pebbles holiday rental agency will do this on your behalf.)

Thirdly, if your prospective guests are struggling for parking, tell them to ditch the car. They really don’t need it. Not only is public transport fabulous. Day hire joints like car-share scheme Auto Bleu and electric hire Green Rent offer Peugeots for peanuts.

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