The French Riviera 2017…the stigmata of terrorism or a sense of revival?

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After the terrorist attack on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice on the 14th July 2016, which killed 84 people and injured over 200, Nice is still struggling to recover from the phychological shock and the economic impact.

Despite the aesthetical barriers protecting the public walkway on the “Prom” and the false air of “business as usual”, the local population and in particular those in the tourism industry found it hard to ween back the “high-end” tourists that generally frequent the “Palaces” in Nice during July and August. Nice showed a drop in frequentation of around 20% and Cannes 29% during these two summer months, with a net fall in clients from the Middle East.

Now that we are starting the month of November, business has picked up thanks to the traditional Conventions and Corporate events that pepper the autumn season. The French Riviera has also been blessed with an “indian summer” with temperatures in the mid 20°c (75°F)  and absolutely NO RAIN…! These attributes have always served the French Riviera when competing against other destinations that are “cheaper”, whether in France or in other parts of Europe.

Despite this upward surge in visitors, the French Riviera is still about 10% behind 2016 figures, which can translate as a 20-25% slump in revenue.

So what are the solutions?

The local tourism authorities are “finally” getting together and working to relaunch the image of the Riviera. The CRT (regional tourism board) and Atout France (France Tourism Development Agency) are bringing together the local tourism destinations – Nice, Cannes and Antibes, the airport in Nice and local tourism actors and investing 2.4 million euros in the branding of the destination. More than 100 promotional campaigns will take place this year in different destinations: Scandinavia, North America, Asia, Israel and will cover the promotion of different types of tourism clusters such as “Sport & Tourism” & “Business Tourism” to the mainstream consumer, tourism professionals, press & influencers.

Social networks have their role to play too by inciting people to write positive comments on their experience here: check out #CoteDazurnow.

The French Riviera needs to boost its image and recreate the dynamism that it had pre-2016. Tourism is a major economic motor here, employing around 150,000 people, generating 5 billion euros in turnover and welcoming some 12 million tourists. Security has been increased, people are more vigilant but the area still remains vunerable. The positives we can take from this are the energy and resolve of the local people, the tourism actors and authorities. Let’s hope for a brighter and safer tourism future for this mythical destination.

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About stephenliney

Wine consultant based in Burgundy. Specializing in Burgundy, Rhone & Provence wines, wine investment, brand marketing, wine tourism & international wine export
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