The high-profile days of strikes against pension reform have sparked much controversy in France, where there are fears that the protests could hurt tourism and tarnish the country’s image.
However, there is no evidence that the strikes hurt the French economy as a whole. France will not lose the title of the most visited country in the world: it is the seventhH Represents the global economy and tourism 10% of the GDP. In addition, initial indications are that long-distance travel is booming in May and June.
However, strikes in France are having an impact on individual travel plans: data for 2023 shows that protests disrupted the plans of ten million travelers.
The number of visitors to France will increase by 33% in 2023
The numbers show that pent-up demand for an end to the pandemic has not dented demand for Paris holidays, despite images of rotting garbage in the streets or the threat of strikes by air traffic controllers.
US travelers are returning to Europe in droves, says digital marketing platform Sojern, with US tourists to Paris up 33% from 2022 figures.
Trainline Europe has recently seen an increase in bookings for Paris. The French capital is currently the most popular destination for groups of three or more travelers and, along with London, is the top destination for solo travellers. Likewise, TripIt lists London, Paris, and Rome as the top long-term destinations for Americans traveling in June.
As a result, travel app Hopper reports that the price of airfare to Europe is the highest it has been in five years. In fact, flying to Europe currently costs an average of $1,167 per ticket for a summer outing, or 36% more over last year, or about $317 more per ticket.
This price increase is due to a combination of lower capacity, the increase in the price of kerosene and the explosion in demand. On Hopper, passengers fly to London, Paris and Tokyo from the United States.
Most French tourism is not long-haul international tourism
France also protects a large national tourism market. Only 30% Tourism in FranceThey come from long distance international visitors. Traditionally, the French love to spend their holidays in their country, enjoying its mountains, cities, lakes and beaches, and many of them visit these places during most of August, when the country closes for the summer holidays. Many unions regard this period as sacred: they do not seek to anger hoteliers and restaurateurs or turn away irate vacationers who are unable to reach their destination.
There is some evidence that political unrest and actions lead to a decrease in the number of bed occupancy nights, which is the indicator by which tourism data is judged. During the 2019 yellow vest protests against social inequality, which preceded the pandemic, the number of occupied beds dropped, but it is impossible to know whether these visitors actually canceled their stay or simply postponed it at a later date.
INSEE analyzed past social protests and found that they had very little impact on economic growth. In addition, since a large part of the strikes are related to the transportation sector, the INSEE expects that the impact of this 2023 movement will be limited because the pandemic has caused everyone to work online, which means that people can easily adapt to temporary disruptions to their travel behaviour.
Moreover, while France is known to be a country that loves to protest, there are fewer strike days today than there were in the 1970s and, as in recent summers, water shortages, fire risk and heatwaves are more likely. Encouraging more tourists to go to other places.
30% of daily European flights were affected by the 2023 strikes
The real losers from these strikes are individual travellers, many of whom have experienced significant delays since the strikes began in January.
Eurocontrol, the European air traffic controller, has published data for the period between 1any March and April 9, when ten million passengers suffered delays or cancellations, ie 64,000 passengers per day in France alone. Accuracy of aircraft is usually around 80%, but during the strike days it dropped to around 70%.
The problem is not just with flights taking off and landing in France, as many flights cross French airspace. Thus, every day up to 3,300 flights take off and land at French airports, while another 3,700 flights cross French airspace. In all, 16% of these flights were affected by air traffic controller strikes (although this number increases if we take into account flights that were canceled more than three days before the planned strike).
Ryanair, Air France and Easyjet are the three airlines with the highest number of delays and cancellations during this period. Ryanair, in particular, is asking the EU to protect transit flights, saying that customers flying from the UK to Italy should not bear the brunt of the French strikes despite not setting foot in the country.
While France was hardest hit by the air measures, Spain also suffered a 15% delay in departure and a 63% increase in cancellations over the same period. The UK, Italy and Germany suffered between 6 and 8% of flight delays or cancellations, particularly overhauls.
In Europe, a total of 34 days of industrial strike in EU countries affected 237,000 flights. For comparison, the eruption of a volcano Eyjafjallajökull In April 2010 it affected 100,000 flights.
Translated article from Forbes US – Author: Alex Ledsom
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