While the number of overseas holidays taken by UK consumers fell dramatically in the recession, the decrease in holidays to France was much more muted. A 6.5% fall year-on-year in 2009 was followed by an estimated reduction of 3.5% in 2010, both significantly below each year’s drop in overall holidays. In addition, average expenditure on French holidays has continued to rise throughout the recession and post-recessionary period.
- Mintel estimates that there were over 6.8 million holidays to France taken by UK residents in 2010, with total expenditure (not including transport) at over £2.9 billion. This represents a 3.5% fall in the number of holidays from 2009, a performance ahead of the overall overseas holiday market (which dropped an estimated 6% from 2009 to 2010).
- Amongst people that have visited France in the last five years the country’s proximity is the most likely factor to have influenced their decision; just under one in five say it was the most important. Food and price are the next most important. Men are more likely to rank food and drink highly; women are more likely to prioritise price. Singles (and high earners) particularly appreciate the culture/history of the country.
- More than one in ten consumers says they are more likely to visit France in 2011 than they were in 2010.
- One in four people who have not visited France say that they ‘just haven’t got round to it yet’, the most popular reason for not having been. This is the downside of the country’s proximity and the advantages that brings; potential holidaymakers can feel that there is no particular reason to prioritise the country over other destinations because they can visit France whenever they want to.
- A minority of UK consumers – 17%, or approximately one in six – call France a ‘welcoming country’. Perhaps of more concern is the fact that experience of the country does not greatly increase the likelihood that people hold this opinion – approximately one in five that have ever holidayed in France characterise the country as welcoming.
- Some 16% of people have not yet been to France on holiday but would like to. They are more likely to have children than not, are most likely 25-34 and have lower/mid-range household earnings. In contrast, just over one in five says they have never been on holiday to France and are unlikely to go in future. These adults are most likely older and have low household income.