Will tourism in the Pays de la Loire recover?

“It’s a bad investment to put the brakes on investment! The day hotels are no longer suitable for national and international customers, you lose customers…», is trying to persuade Franck Louvrier, vice-president of the Pays de la Loire region in charge of tourism, who has just revised the regional plan for the development of tourism and leisure, to take the sector to new horizons in the next six years. A sector weakened by the health crisis, whose sources, kept in good condition by the economic stimulus programs, nevertheless have to adapt to the new desires of consumers.

According to the Banque de France, the economy of the Pays de la Loire has also performed well in 2021 “through a strong resilience in a difficult health context, accompanied by tensions over costs, delivery terms and recruitment”, health measures have had a major impact on the tourism sector. Especially in the hotel and catering industry, where sales fell by -11.8%. “But the outlook for 2022 shows a clear horizon for service activities, of which tourism will be a strong driver of growth,” outlined the Pays de la Loire regional office of the Banque de France, a few weeks before the war in Ukraine.

“What we want to avoid is a slowdown or a complete halt to investments in the tourism sector, where almost every second company has a PGE contract. They face a wall of debt that must be paid off by 2023. Granted, tourism has weathered the wave of the health crisis, but it has been severely weakened.”notes for his part Franck Louvrier.

3.8% of French PGE

For Jean-Yves Galerne, regional delegate of the Pays de la Loire banking association, this “debt wall” is due to an accumulation of debts from different origins. “During the Covid crisis, many companies have had to resort to deferring the maturities of pre-crisis loans or asking their banks for PGEs to cover their fixed costs. It is impossible to precisely determine the total amount of deferrals on loans taken out by tourism companies before the crisis”.

At the national level, PGEs awarded to tourism businesses amount to €11.5 billion out of the €143 billion granted to the French economy in the form of PGEs. In the Pays de la Loire, where tourism concentrates 14,000 companies, 44,300 jobs (65,000 if we include seasonal workers) and generates an annual turnover of 6.9 billion euros, the Covid crisis would have seen a drop in activity of almost 40 between 2020 and 2020 % caused by 2021. A significantly lower deterioration than at the national level, where the withdrawal exceeds 50%.

In terms of PGE, the weight of the Pays de la Loire, which normally accounts for 5% of the national data, represents 3.8%, ie 5.45 billion euros out of 143 billion euros and 2.8% for the only sector of the Loire Hotel and catering sector counts 4,291 beneficiaries against 101,010 nationally. With an average amount of 72,200 euros per beneficiary versus 110,000 euros in France. The presence of debt is certain, but the base is less substantial than at French level, in parallel with a fairly strong regional recovery in 2022 in terms of activity in this sector.notes Jean-Yves Galerne.

While the 2020 and 2021 summer season ended up being quite favourable, activity did not regain the pace of 2019. “And above all, the situation is very different depending on the era and the area” INSEE mentions in its 2021 report, where between May and September 2021 the number of visitors to campsites has decreased by -6% and to hotels by -15% compared to 2019. Overall down by 8%, the number of visitors in tourist accommodation (16.5 million overnight stays) shows a decrease comparable to Brittany and New Aquitaine but much lower than the metropolitan average, which decreases by -17%. Traffic at Nantes Atlantique Airport, with 7.2 million passengers, has not regained the colors of the record year 2019 either. In 2021, the counters showed 3.2 million passengers. Half less. Just like the flight movements, which fell from almost 70,000 to 35,923 in the same period.

Enhance outdoor area

In this context, campsites are doing well by taking advantage of the decline in purchasing power. “What we see,” says Mathieu Defresne, regional director of BPIFrance Pays de la Loire is that, in addition to the extremely strong impact on the hospitality and events sectors, the pandemic is causing an upheaval in the expectations and habits of customers, increasingly oriented towards open-air accommodation and looking for accommodation methods in line with theirs Value, energy and ecological transitions. Therefore, a certain step up takes place. Many of the emerging projects are a consequence of the health crisis.

In his eyes, the tourism industry is concentrated and many acquisitions or external growth operations require the use of equity. Through the Future and Tourism Support Fund (Fast), to which the region is one of the few subscribed, BPIFrance has supported six (outdoor accommodation, hotel, catering, travel agency, etc.) of the forty establishments retained by this national system . 1.6 million were granted in the form of convertible bonds, redeemable over eight years (up to 400,000 euros) to support projects related to environmental transformation, digitization, new consumption models, etc. Hotels “environmentally friendly” Slow Village, where BPIFrance and BNP Paribas Development entered the capital in 2020 to accelerate its development and allow the acquisition of two new tourist sites in Lacanau and Ile de Ré.

A recovery of more than 34% is expected for 2022

The concept takes the codes and values ​​from slow tourism. Namely places close to nature, low energy consumers, in eco-friendly accommodation, whether in a campsite, farm, hotel or holiday village, with catering from local, organic, etc. “The post-lockdown response was to get out, meet and connect with nature, which strengthened our positioning.” explains David Letellier, CEO of the Slow Group (Slow Village). “We have drawn on PGEs, benefited from government aid, taken on debt, but we have managed to meet our targets, control our results and limit the impact of the crisis. According to the financiers who joined us, we’d be pretty good students., he admits. Despite the severe health restrictions“the accommodation and catering sector, supported by government measures, is seeing an increase in its profitability”found the Banque de France in a survey of business leaders earlier this year. “After two difficult years for the tourism industry, a +34.6% recovery in the tourism industry is expected in 2022. Accommodation and gastronomy, which expects an improvement in their margins and whose “significant” investments are expected to increase by +17.7%”, she hints.

The Foncière solution Immo Tourisme adapts

“It’s an active sector. Although it’s one of the few that hasn’t returned to pre-crisis levels, activity is picking up again in early 2022,” recognizes Philippe Jusserand, regional director Pays de la Loire of the Banque des Territoires, co-founder of the real estate company Solution Immo Tourisme, with the regional council to allow operators of tourist facilities in difficulty to find cash and carry out development projects.

After the tentative start of a formula from leaseback (Lease Lease), in which the owner relieves himself of his property for ten to fifteen years by becoming a temporary – or not – tenant until “Return to Better Luck”the protagonists of the real estate industry have finally changed their offer. “We have enhanced the conditions of the property and set up the installment sale, which enables him to systematically become the owner again after one to two years. It could positively change the prospects of some owner-operators in trouble but hanging on to their property. We touch on the valuation of the property », notes Philippe Jusserand. In fact, the system, a first in France and closely monitored by the Grand Est and Ile-de-France regions, is currently examining ten new dossiers from three projects (hotel, campsite, brewery) whose environmental criteria are systematically respected. “It has become one of our priorities, like the energy renovation of buildings, green tourism, etc.”, emphasizes Philippe Jusserand. Initiatives promoted by the Banque des Territoires.

The first wine tourism center in France

As here in Nantes, by supporting the acquisition of the Naudières theme park by the Wikiparks group, or investing with the UCPA in an urban leisure complex in the Malakoff district of Nantes, or there, south of Saumur, where it is investing six million euros to complete a 43rd -Million euro project led by the RVG Group (Régis Vincenot Group). Objective: To transform the site of the Château de Parnay (49) into the leading wine tourism center in France, with a hotel with 58 rooms and eight suites, a gourmet restaurant and cave spa, as well as a route dedicated to the vine and biodiversity. The opening is planned for 2024. The investment is also supported by local authorities, including the region, which, after supporting campsites, hotels and restaurants, should very soon announce the extension of its actions to include cultural tourism, heritage and equestrian sports for loans of 15,000 to 800,000 euros. An area that comes in addition to agritourism, boating, wine tourism and cycling. With more than 3,000 km of cycle paths listed in the regional cycle path programme, including the famous Loire à Vélo circuit, shared with the Val de Loire region and frequented by more than a million cyclists every year, the Pays de the Loire, to become the leader in cycle tourism in France. A way to consolidate the domestic market, re-attract foreign customers who were distracted in the crisis, and meet the needs of tomorrow’s tourism.