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Society

Two Million Fewer French People Went on Holiday in 2011

Translated Monday 26 March 2012, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Bill Scoble

As a result of the recession, 2.2 million fewer French people went on holiday in 2011 than in 2010. This was true in all social classes except among the very rich, according to the annual statistics established by Opodo-Raffour.

Last year, 29.6 million French people went on short or long holidays, as against 31.8 million in 2010. This amounts to 56% of the population, as against 61% in 2010. The reason is simple: vacation trips were cut because of the recession, which has slashed leisure activity budgets, especially among low-income families. The Arab Spring also had a negative effect on vacation stays in reasonably-priced countries that are usually favored by non-wealthy households, like Tunisia, or, a bit more expensive, Egypt.

“The gap is clearly growing between French people in the higher-income bracket and those whose income is lower,” noted the marketing director for Opodo France, Jérôme Laurent, as he presented the study. “There’s a flagrant distortion in 2011. You can see those who have the least means becoming ever more fragile.” "Even the rate of departures on long non-commercial holidays fell significantly (down 7%). This clearly shows that people have become economically fragile.” Thus, even when they did not have to pay for a hotel room or holiday apartment, these potential vacationers decided not to go on holiday because of transport costs and on-site holiday expenses.

In 2011, 80% of vacationers spent at least one holiday in France, 35% went abroad (up three percent) and 15% went on holiday both in France and abroad. In all, 65% of French vacationers remained in France. Nearly three-quarters of those who holiday in France use their own vehicle (71%).

It comes as no surprise that the rate at which people take a holiday trip is directly linked to household income and “fell for all except those in the higher-income bracket.” Thus 86% of the French people making over 3000 euros a month net, before taxes, went on holiday in 2011, up 6% over a year (80% in 2010). On the other hand, only 63% of the French people earning 2000 to 3000 euros a month left on holiday, a fall of 4%; 48% of those making between 1000 and 2000 euros a month (a 2% fall); and 30% of those who make less than 1000 euros a month (down 3%).

Many French people also shortened the length of their holiday trips. The proportion leaving on long holidays (at least four nights) fell 5%, while short stays of less than three nights increased by 4% (30% of holiday-goers).


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