How will French people travel in 2021?

How will French people travel in 2021?
Flexibility, nature and autonomy

The European Traveller Intelligence Monitor (ETIM), Interface Tourism Insights’ new business intelligence platform, reveals how French people will travel in 2021. Three key trends emerge from the French panel’s responses about the travels of tomorrow: a need for flexibility, a desire for nature and a preference for autonomy. As a result of the covid-19 crisis, safety and affordability also stand out, but the desire to travel has not diminished and the holiday budget for nearly one French person in two will remain unchanged in 2021.

With a panel of 20,000 people interviewed across 13 European countries, including 3,000 people in France, the ETIM platform combines 5.7 million datapoints to offer detailed analysis of travel trends. Among the data studied are the 30 determining factors for travelers when choosing a destination. For French people, the top factors this year are nature and outdoor activities (51%), high safety standards (41%) and affordability (25%).

Deprived of social contacts last year, French people also want to socialize: they particularly value the possibility of meeting new people (21%) and interacting with locals (13%). The other priorities of French travelers clearly revolve around leisure activities, with a distinct interest in seaside destinations (18%) and family activities (13%) such as visits to amusement parks (17%). Finally, the availability of direct flights will play a very important role for the French people (19%), as will the availability of flights to and from local airports (13%).

  • More flexible services, but more careful advance planning…

When asked about services that have become more important since the pandemic, the French mention the need for special health and cancellation insurances (+32%). A greater flexibility, more necessary now than ever to face a constantly changing situation, has become a prerequisite for any departure.

French people also plan to rely more on tourism professionals: all-inclusive offers and packaged holidays have become more important for travelers since the crisis (+9% and +7% respectively), bringing more certainty and peace of mind when organizing a trip. Similarly, travel agencies have become more relevant for French people (+6%), who prefer to rely on professionals to manage the increasingly complicated logistics of travel planning in the current situation.

  • …or more self-reliance and autonomy

Conversely, other emerging trends indicate a desire for independence from the logistical constraints of transport and accommodation. Indeed, to offset these factors of uncertainty, French would-be travelers declare that, in the next two years, they will give greater priority to road trips and destinations to which they can drive themselves (+19%). Similarly, they will give more importance to accommodation where they can cook their own meals (+15%) so as not to rely on restaurants and their operating status.

Along the same lines, private rentals such as Airbnb and stays with family or friends rank second and third respectively among the types of accommodation preferred by French people. Vacation homes (4th place), bed & breakfast (5th) and campsites (6th) follow closely behind. Hotel chains and city hotels rank only 8th and 9th.

Itinerant travels, camping and auto camper trips are part of the same upward trend: 10% of French people plan to go camping or travel by auto camper in the future and generally speaking, 38% of French people will prefer itinerant or multi-destination trips. To avoid facing closed borders, the French plan to travel more in France than before (+19%) or to neighboring countries (+8%).

  • Travelling against all odds

A factor of optimism for the sector: 45% of French people say that their travel budget will remain unchanged in 2021, against only 25% announcing a decreasing budget, 23% undecided and nearly 7% who even expect a budget increase.

Asked about their travel plans outside Europe, 38% of French people say they are ready to leave as soon as they are vaccinated. Nearly one in two French people would even be ready to travel to a destination that the French authorities do not recommend, if they find a very good offer or if they feel personally safe.

To discover more trends and data on perceptions, behaviors and travel intentions in France and Europe, do not hesitate to ask us for more information.

Alice Kabanoff Interface Tourism

Alice Kabanoff

Account Director

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