At the end of a record year for tourism in 2018, Paris works to maintain a positive momentum

The analysis of data on hotel attendance in Greater Paris covering the period from January to October shows that 2018 is expected to be an excellent year. At least as good as, or if not better than, 2017 — a historic year in terms of tourist numbers. It is estimated that the 24 million mark could be surpassed for hotels in Greater Paris, i.e. +4.7% compared to 2017. | Publié le 04 February 2019

Photo de l'arc de triomphe à Paris

This growth is mainly driven by foreign tourists, whose numbers increased by 10.9% from January to October 2018, all markets combined. The most significant increases were those of the United States (+16.6%), the largest foreign market in Greater Paris, which could reach the attendance levels of the late 1990s (2 million arrivals in Paris itself). In Europe, Italy, Spain and Germany are showing growth of more than 15%! As for the Asian markets, Japan is continuing a positive underlying trend that began in 2016: +15.4% of additional arrivals. China is up by +4 %.

These excellent results, linked to a good international economic climate and an attractive events programme (the Gay Games, Ryder Cup, major concerts and exhibitions, etc.) have enabled cultural institutions such as the Louvre and the Centre des Monuments Nationaux (Sainte-Chapelle, Arc de Triomphe, etc.), to beat visitor attendance records.

The first cloud on the horizon: French tourist numbers are down slightly by 2%, partly due to the SNCF go-slow strike and slower growth in France.

The second cloud: the gilets jaunes (‘yellow vests’). The month of December, which accounts for 8% of tourism attendance in Greater Paris, was impacted by the yellow vest movement and its media coverage. The occupancy rate of hotels in Greater Paris in December 2018 fell by 3.7 points to 71.5%. However, revenue per room (RevPAR) increased slightly by 0.8% due to the 4.4% increase in hotel rates. International air arrivals, except from Europe, to Paris fell by 3.9% in December 2018, compared with a record month in December 2017.

The loss of income recorded by trade and restaurants during these key periods of their activity remains nevertheless a cause for concern.

 Uncertainty as to the outlook for the first half of the year …

‘It is important to scrutinize airline bookings for the period from February to April 2019’, emphasizes Pierre Schapira, Chairman of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Although the 1st quarter seems to have seen a drop in bookings, the trend seems to be inversed in April — the period this year of the Easter holidays (a difference of one month compared to 2018). Also to keep an eye on is the Business Tourism segment, which traditionally makes bookings at the end of the year for groups, and which represents half of all Parisian arrivals each year.

… to which the PCVB wishes to respond by proposing a robust action plan

In order to build on the positive momentum of 2018, the PCVB has decided to implement a plan to highlight the wealth of the capital’s cultural and events programme.

‘This action plan focuses on our target markets: a big marketing campaign, initiated for the first time this autumn, uniting Paris and London to promote our two destinations in one will be extended. This multichannel marketing campaign, targeted at millennial American tourists, will in addition have a business dimension aimed at American companies’, states, by way of an example, Corinne Menegaux, Managing Director of the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau.

China and Japan, along with the United States, will be actively targeted through actions on our social networks and the hosting of key influencers — true ambassadors of the destination.

European tourists, loyal visitors, will be able to benefit from original offers and attractively-priced packages put together with our partners, transport carriers or booking sites.

Finally, the domestic market will not be forgotten; the French form the largest pool of visitors to the capital. Alternative and off-the-beaten-track visits will be directed at them and particular emphasis will be placed on families, for whom Paris is not yet a natural playground.

This series of measures will strengthen the individual initiatives of Parisian tourism industry professionals and institutions seeking to capitalize on the very positive results of the past two years.