It is present, galloping even.
Inflation will have governed the year 2022. According to the latest figures from INSEE, price increases have reached 5.2% on average over the last twelve months, after 1.6% in 2021. An economic situation that is not without consequence on the way we travel.
At the beginning of December, a study by the Skyscanner flight comparator delivered an unequivocal conclusion: travelers will remain very vigilant on the question of the budget in 2023. More specifically, 63% of French people questioned indicated that the increase in the cost of living would impact their decisions. in terms of travel, with lower spending on accommodation.
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Do the results of this survey hold true as the winter holidays approach?
As a reminder, these holidays are spread over a period stretching from February 4 to March 6.
A period often favored by the French to go on vacation in the mountains.
And despite the lack of snow cover, favored by a wave of warm weather across France, the ski resorts will be full in February.
Never mind the late snowfall and galloping inflation on fuel and food prices.
“The winter holidays are booked with a lot of anticipation.
There is no massive cancellation movement over this period”
, observes Jean-Pierre Mas, president of Travel Companies.
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Already, some clues foreshadowed this future success.
For example, the very early booking of ski lessons.
In October, the National Union of French Ski Instructors (SNMSF) reported record increases in requests: +80% online reservations, compared to the same month in 2021. A phenomenon partly linked to a very early opening of slots reservations, but also the fear of not having the desired class times.
Fancy a holiday abroad
But what about the majority who do not go to the mountains?
Has the purchasing power crisis forced some to give up their vacation plans?
The answer is different depending on the sector of activity.
On the side of certain comparators, such as travel agencies, the observation seems the same: the desire to travel is there, similar or even stronger than before the Covid period.
“For winter holidays, we saw an 85% increase in searches for flights, +50% for hotels and +19% for car rentals, compared to the same period last year.
We are getting closer to the levels of 2019. We are even starting to have higher levels of research”
, reveals Eva Fouquet, vice-president of strategic partnerships for the Kayak.fr platform.
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With the gradual lifting of health restrictions around the world, the French want to fulfill their desires elsewhere.
“There is a lot of research for the international.
If we look at the hotel part, it is clearly the foreigner that dominates.
We are seeing strong demand in Asia, particularly
is also a flagship destination at the moment
,” continues Eva Fouquet.
Research that turns into acts of reservation?
Yes, according to the tour operator Lidl Voyages.
“We are facing quite an amazing progression.
Between January 1 and 12, we had a 40% increase in bookings compared to 2019”
, reveals Mélanie Lemarchand, head of Lidl Voyages France.
Several destinations are at the top of the ranking for the tour operator, such as the Dominican Republic, Egypt and Spain.
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Sharp rise in prices
In this college of destinations, Southern Europe and the Maghreb also remain largely represented, recalls Guillaume Rostand, spokesperson for Liligo.
“The French favor 'safe' travel, in other words, not very far.
And Southern Europe, especially Portugal, is a safe bet.”
What about France?
The latter has clearly declined in favor of the international, observe the professionals.
“As there was a very big focus on France during the Covid period, we are now witnessing a normal swing of the pendulum”
, observes Jean-Pierre Mas.
A desire from elsewhere which is combined with a very significant increase in prices.
At Lidl Voyages, the average price of the basket (generally made up of two adults and one or two children) fell from 1,650 euros in 2019, to 2,370 euros four years later.
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Same observation at Kayak, where we observe a 35% increase in the price of plane tickets over one year.
This latter trend is clearly identified.
The Civil Aircraft Directorate's latest price index, released in December, confirmed a price increase of 21.8% since January 2022. Compared to the pre-Covid period, the rise s even rises to almost 30%.
A difficult context to which is sometimes added an increase in the cost of accommodation.
So many reasons that push Jean-Pierre Mas to be less optimistic than his colleagues.
For him, inflation has greatly reduced the vacation budget for many French people.
“We saw a 25% drop in the number of reservations for the period
,” he explains.
“The cut is very clear.
Some holidaymakers will no longer be leaving in February.
However, the turnover remains the same due to the price increase.”
If for the time being, professionals therefore display a certain serenity, the next spring and summer holidays could constitute major challenges.
In a context where the French will be even more scalded by the crisis of purchasing power.