Greener, more local… How tourism is changing in Brittany – Bretagne
More than 40,000 completed questionnaires, investigators present on 76 sites,… Every five to six years, the vast Reflet study probes in depth tourist practices in Brittany. First lesson from the 2022 batch: with 109 million overnight stays, attendance is back to pre-health crisis levels but has remained broadly the same for twenty years. An apparent stability that hides significant developments, echoing the upheavals of the world.
1 The Germans, first foreign clientele
It was expected: Brexit, and the financial crisis in the United Kingdom, considerably reduced the flow of tourists from across the Channel. While they could enter Europe without hindrance, the British must now meet conditions (insurance, valid passport and sufficient financial resources). Result: for a long time the first foreign clientele, they fell to second place. A decline compensated by an increase in Swiss, Dutch and above all German visitors, at the top of the podium.
2 Bretons increasingly keen on excursions
Day trips – in other words the walks of Bretons in Brittany – increased by 17% in one year, to reach 93 million last year. And, compared to the last survey in 2016, their market share in regional tourism has increased by six points. A sign that they are reclaiming their territory? “Since the health restrictions, the Bretons have realized that they do not need to go very far to take their eyes off it”, comments Anne Gallo, vice-president of the regional council in charge of tourism. The cost of fuel can also weigh heavily in the decision not to travel too far.
3 Last minute and more split stays
Another effect of covid: during the health crisis, when the possibility of new travel restrictions was never to be ruled out, tourists tended to book at the last minute. A habit that takes root. They are also quicker to hop around to see as much of the area as possible. Result: the average length of stays is reduced by ten to eight days.
4 Environmental concerns are on the rise
Respect for the sites, attention paid to waste, local consumption, priority for cycling to get around,… 86% of the tourists questioned believe that they are taking action to reduce the climate impact of their holidays. A proportion multiplied by 2.5 in six years. Still with limits. Travel by train is progressing little. In addition, accommodation labeled “eco-responsible” does not appeal to tourists. Only 7% of them choose their vacation spot because it is environmentally friendly.
5 The boom in outdoor activities
This ecological concern is also reflected in the changes in the choice of activities, which testify to an increased need for greenery and resourcing. Hiking, in particular, is practiced by 73% of tourists surveyed, a share up 25 points. “The Breton relief is, from this point of view, an asset for the region because there is no need to have particular sports skills to practice hiking here”, underlines Antoine Cariou, director of Tourisme Bretagne.
6 Inner Britain’s Slow Revenge
This search for nature benefits inland Brittany, rich in green landscapes. It is still very much in the minority in the number of stays (27%) but its share has nevertheless increased by three points. “The activity develops essentially around the waterways which drain the majority of the flows”, emphasizes Jessica Viscart, deputy director of Tourisme Bretagne. Canals of Ille-et-Rance or Nantes to Brest, the Blavet… The development of the accommodation offer on these axes and the attraction for cycling has enabled them to do well.
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