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Since 2010, local tourists have consistently accounted for more than half of the country’s overnight tourist stays. This phenomenon, which is naturally present in France thanks to its tourist assets and transport infrastructures, is now developing in the face of numerous economic and environmental challenges.
Asterès, an economic think-tank, and the Pierre & Vacances Center-Parcs Group have joined forces to propose a study defining and analysing, for the first time, the economic and environmental weight of local tourism in France.
This phenomenon is defined in this study as tourists who have visited a holiday destination in France less than 500 km from their home.
Summary of the study’s figures
Local tourism is particularly beneficial to rural areas
Local tourism generates the majority of income and jobs from tourist consumption in nine out of thirteen French regions (all except Ile-de-France, the PACA region, Pays de La Loire and the Grand Est).
Local tourism generates much less CO2 than long-distance tourism
Overall, the environmental impact of local tourism is much lower than that of long-distance tourism.
Local tourism generates only 23% of the tourism sector’s CO2 emissions for 57% of overnight stays.
This difference can be explained entirely by transport, whereas air travel is much more polluting than car or train travel, even for the same distance. A journey of 800 km by plane emits 6 times more CO2 than a journey of 300 km by car.
Local tourism acts as a safety net in the event of a tourism crisis
Local tourism had a stabilising effect during the Covid crisis in 2020-2022.
If we look at the visitor trends for the Pierre & Vacances-Center Parcs Group’s residences and estates, we see that :
In short, during a shock, local touristś take over, stabilising the sector, before the return of long-distance tourists once the shock is over.
For Franck Gervais, Managing Director of the Pierre & Vacances-Center Parcs Group, European leader in proximity tourism “For the first time a study defines proximity tourism and demonstrates its economic and ecological impacts on our country. We have been supporting this tourism trend within the Group for decades. Contributing to the development and attractiveness of the areas in which we operate is fundamental for us.”
Local tourism is defined by Asteres as tourism by people living in France or abroad who travelled less than 500 km to their holiday destination in France. In contrast, long-distance tourism is defined as tourism by people living in France or abroad who have travelled more than 500 km to reach their holiday destination in France. In order to study the phenomenon of local tourism precisely, Asterès had to adapt existing statistics on the means of transport of the French and on domestic and international tourism, as there are no statistics directly on local tourism at national level (see study page 6).