The Cote d’Azur Tourism Commission’s latest statistics make for interesting reading. Most importantly, it’s been another lucrative year for the South of France.
Nice Airport’s 105 airlines routes have been busier than ever. The weaker Euro has encouraged overseas visitors – in particular Americans and Brits – to come in ever greater numbers.
In 2016 we’re promised more of the same. The US dollar keeps on rising. The EURO2016 football championship will pour an extra 300,000 tourists into Nice alone. And finally, although a sad truth, political instability in some global tourism destinations has pushed more visitors toward long established markets like the French Riviera.
Most significantly for holiday apartment owners, the latest Cote d’Azur tourism statistics point to growth in the rental season. I’m glad I’m a property owner not a hotel manager. Here’s why.
To put you in the picture, most tourism still takes place from June to September. That’s nearly 50% of tourist arrivals through Nice Airport, the roads from Paris and Genoa, the cruise ship ports, and various other places.
Hotels on the Cote d’Azur receive 4 million annual bookings, with a total of 9 million overnight stays. Interesting, the fancier the hotel the longer the stay. Guests stay in 1-star hotels an average of 1.9 nights. But in Monaco’s 5-star hotels they stay 2.7 nights. And who wouldn’t?
But with holiday rental properties it’s a different story. The Cote d’Azur’s holiday homes receive just 0.8 million annual bookings. Yet they make up a total of 3.5 million overnight stays. That’s right, guests stay in rental villas and apartments, like those offered by Pebbles, for far, far longer.
And here’s another salient point. While hotel visits are squashed into summer, holiday lettings are spread year-round. Both enjoy nearly 90% occupancy in August. But in the wintry depths of January and February holiday lettings are 40% fuller than hotels.
Holiday property owners are lucky as conferences and congresses entice long-stay guests in winter. The Cote d’Azur Tourism Commission is diligent regarding its winter program, with adverts for its ski resorts in easyJet magazine, Christmas markets running through January, plus the Carnival to take up the slack in February.
Pebbles are working equally hard to boost off-season lettings. That means email marketing to previous business clients. Links with conference organisers. And contacts with airlines who place pilots in properties near Nice Airport. No wonder those official rental statistics look so good.