French tourists return to Maghreb countries

The number of French tourists choosing to travel abroad rather than domestically has gone up this year, with a marked increase in the numbers going to Tunisia and Morocco.

The ‘Entreprises du Voyage’ agency has monitored the findings of 850 travel agency bookings for this summer. While Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal are the most popular choices, Morocco and Tunisia are gaining ground following a tough past year.

Tunisia was hit by a spate of terror attacks in 2015, but the number of French tourists booking trips there this year has increased by a dramatic 211%. The TUI Group has seen a 39% increase in bookings for its clubs in Tunisia.

Tourism is a huge industry in France accounting for 7% of GDP, and the country is consistently rated number 1 in international tourism rankings. A large share of tourism in France is still domestic, with most French people preferring to visit Bordeaux.

It is estimated that increased purchasing power has contributed to the increase in foreign bookings. ‘Entreprises du Voyage’ manager Jean-Pierre Mas says an upbeat mood has also contributed to the choice by many people to take trips abroad. The number of bookings within France has risen 4%, while medium and long distance travel have increased 14% and 13% respectively.

It is believed domestic tourism will still increase further this year, with the Atlantic coast and Corsica drawing large numbers. Business tourism will grow at a faster rate.At the same time, the number of visitors to the Côte d’Azur will decrease, as the area is considered too expensive.

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