The high cost of fuel may be affecting Easter holidays in France, with reservation levels having dropped in line with petrol prices rises, a new study suggests.
Since the beginning of March, just as petrol prices began to skyrocket following the start of the war in Ukraine, reservations for Easter holidays started to fall in tandem, figures from the holiday rental platform PAP Vacances show*.
This continued despite the government announcing an 18 centime refund per litre from April 1.
The trend is in contrast to that seen at the start of the year, when a sharp rise in reservations, higher than levels seen in 2019, suggested that the hospitality industry had a good year ahead.
PAP Vacances said that reservations for the spring holidays looked set to hit the same level as in 2019 (just -0.2% lower), with all Covid restrictions lifted.
However, rising fuel costs have now been put forward as a key reason as to why the trend has not continued as predicted.
Where is most popular for Easter holidays in France?
The seaside is still the most popular, with most (73%) reservations for stays by the coast. However, stays in Normandy (Manche and Calvados) have dropped by 32.5%, while trips to the northern coast (Somme and Pas-de-Calais in Hauts-de-France) have risen by 19%.
PAP Vacances said that this was “likely due to more accessible prices” in the latter areas, given that the climate is similar in both regions.
After the coast, countryside areas are the most popular, especially in the south, with reservations up in the Lot (up 62.7%) and the Rhône valley (Vaucluse, 50.7%, Gard, 44.3%, and Ardèche, 42.3%).
The French overseas territories are also rising in popularity, with an increase of 36% compared to 2019, especially Reunion Island (up 107.9%) and Guadeloupe (up 90.4%).
However, in the mountains, skiers are shunning the slopes.
Ski holiday bookings for the Easter holidays are down this year compared to 2019, after record-breaking reservations over the Christmas holidays. This is partly due to there being less snow than in previous years.
*The PAP Vacances study is based on 18,768 booking requests made for the Easter holiday 2022 (Saturday April 9 to Sunday May 7, 2022), compared to bookings made for the same holiday in 2019 (Saturday April 6 to Sunday May 5, 2019).