“Mission accomplished” as tourists return to French Riviera

The French Riviera has had a fantastic summer, according to the Regional Committee of Tourism Côte d’Azur, with occupancy rates as high as 90% and a jump in visitors and economic benefits, with numbers easily reaching pre-pandemic figures.

The local tourism board, the Regional Committee of Tourism Côte d’Azur (CRT) has released the statistics for tourism in the region thus far this year, with encouraging results.

In June 2022, hotel occupancy in the Alpes-Maritimes reached 80%, the best since 2000, and 75% in tourist residences. By the next month, the hotels had hit 85% and 83% in residences, which are the highest numbers seen in a decade. These rates are indeed impressive, but it was August that has stolen the show with a huge 90% occupancy rate, almost that of 2019 and 2021 combined, thanks in part to the bank holiday weekend mid-month, which was sold out. As the month is not yet over, the rates are expected to exceed the 2019 figures, marking an excellent return to normal. The first half September is set to hit 75% occupancy rates, another good sign.

The coastal regions fared extremely well, but the inland regions also saw a 5% leap in occupancy over 2019. It is believed this is due to an uptick in sustainable tourism focused on the great outdoors, a policy the CRT has encouraged.

“After two years marked by the health crisis and a tense international context, tourist attendance for this summer season 2022 marks a virtual return to normal on the Côte d’Azur,” said Alexandra Borchio Fontimp, President of the CRT Côte d’Azur France. “The CRT Côte d’Azur France and all of its partners are delighted with these results, which consolidate a recovery in activity that was already well underway in the spring.”

With Nice Côte d’Azur airport’s 107 destinations, 88 of those being from outside France, people from abroad have returned in droves. The numbers aren’t quite back to pre-pandemic figures but reached an impressive 85% of the norm.

This year, the North Americans returned, alongside the British, Belgians, Irish, Dutch and Scandinavians. Those coming from Russia and Asia were far lower than past years, reaching only 20% of usual.

The French also returned, with a full quarter coming from the Paris region, and another 25% from the south, excluding the Alpes-Maritimes.

The return of high-contribution foreign customers, notably the North Americans and Middle Easterners, has enabled the strong rebound in hotel turnover, which was full in the middle of the season. Tourism spending largely benefits restaurants and shops located near accommodation and other visitor hubs.

The average daily spend per tourist was roughly €65 for French visitors and €100 for those from other places. This translates to nearly €6 billion for the area.

“The exceptional results of this summer 2022 show the effectiveness of our action plan and the resilience of our destination, which knows how to create and seize opportunities to, all together, preserve and revitalise tourism on the Riviera. The role of the Côte d’Azur France Regional Tourism Committee is to continue to diversify the origins of our visitors throughout the year by making them discover the singularity of our territory between sea and mountains and our tourist offer geared towards sustainable tourism. Mission accomplished for this beautiful season!”



Photo by Cassandra Tanti for Monaco Life





Imperious Verstappen in a league of his own

Max Verstappen won the Belgium GP on Sunday to stretch his lead over Charles Leclerc and tighten his grip on consecutive World Championship titles.

Due to pre-race penalties, both Verstappen and Leclerc began Sunday’s race in the lower mid-field, meaning that the title rivals would have to work their way through the field in order to challenge for the podium places. However, Saturday’s qualifying gave an indication that Verstappen may find that task easier than Leclerc.

Despite only registering one lap in Q3, the reigning World Champion was over six tenths quicker than Carlos Sainz in P2.

The signs were ominous for Ferrari, who were nowhere near matching Red Bull’s pace. And so it proved during the race as Verstappen made light work of working his way through the field on his soft tyres. By just lap 8, he was already in P3, and only a collision or technical failure looked like depriving Verstappen victory. Neither saved Leclerc, and finishing P6, he falls further behind in a title battle that looks to be slipping through his fingers.

Flawless drive

Verstappen’s current form is ominous. His victory at Hungary just before the summer break was one of the finest of his career, and despite finding himself down in P14 at the start on Sunday, there was never the impression that the race win was beyond him.

Having made late work of the midfield, he quickly found himself on the back of his teammate Carlos Perez, and by lap 12, following a pit-stop from leader Carlos Sainz, he took the lead. Having taken the lead, he never truly looked like losing following his pit-stop on lap 16, it took him only two laps to definitively take the lead of the race. Thereafter, he was unchallenged.

His victory around the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit, which has been renewed for the 2023 season, gives him a hefty margin for error. He is now 93 points ahead of his nearest challenger, Perez.

Leclerc toils in the mid-field

Perez moves ahead of Monégasque driver Leclerc by five points. He, unlike Verstappen, found it more difficult  to manoeuvre his way through the field.

He was, however, handicapped by a technical issue on lap 3. Whilst running in P9, he had to pit due to a tear-off in the brake duct. That left him down in P16, and from there it was difficult to force his way into contention for the podium places.

It was a solid recovery drive from Leclerc, but a difficult race, as it was clear that the Ferrari was looking pace relative to the Red Bull. Sainz’s third place, behind Perez is a good reflection of where they are: behind Red Bull, but still ahead of everyone else.

Post-race, Leclerc said, “The feeling in the car was actually ok, but compared to our competitors we were lacking pace. They made a huge step leading up to this weekend and we have to work on closing the gap.”

A huge step is what is needed for Ferrari, who risk losing the slipstream of a run-away Red Bull, in a title race which could reach an early denouement.



Photo source: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office