In July, the hotel park islander was only 59% occupied. A low number than professionals of the sector mainly due to the high transport costs and competition furniture from tourism. But more circumstantial causes certainly played a role.
The information was revealed by our colleagues from the newspaper The Echoes in an article published a few days ago.
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The Corsican hotel industry recorded one of the lowest occupancy rates in France in July. Only 59.1% of the available beds were occupied, compared to the national average of 73%. A score that puts the island in penultimate place, just above the Midi-Pyrénées region (57.8%) but well behind the Paca region (80.8%) or Languedoc-Roussillon (75.1%).
This statistic is all the more disappointing as it is part of a downward trend compared to 2019 – the last financial year not affected by the Covid crisis. The mapping carried out by the business newspaper shows that the island is among the areas that have recorded a decrease in the occupancy rate of between -3.6% and -5.4% compared to only 2.8% nationally.
“We’ve been told big numbers for this summer, but it’s not true, regrets Pierre Negretti, hotelier in Aregno-plage and regional president of the Umih Hotel Industry (Union of Hotel Trades and Industries). A lot of people may have come to Corsica, but it didn’t help everyone.”
“I did a comparative study…”
The causes cited by professionals in the industry are well known. The first of these is competition from other forms of housing. “What has disadvantaged us for several years is the development of seasonal rentals and off-market properties, assures Jean-Christophe Barrau, manager of two hotels in the Restonica Valley. We couldn’t find the right balance. Today in Corsica, the supply of hotel beds is less important than the total number of accommodations in tourist accommodation and second homes. The proportion is around 45/55%.”
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Another element put forward by the operators is the cost of transportation.
In their opinion, it would penalize the hotel sector by increasing the price too much for the destination of Corsica. “Already there is the problem of insularity, forcing travelers to take their car by boat or rent a car when getting off the plane, continues Jean-Christophe Barrau. But there is also a constant increase in the travel price. I did a small comparative study with Sardinia, the Balearic Islands and Madeira. From the Netherlands or Germany, the plane ticket to Corsica is always the most expensive.”
And the situation does not help. To The Echoes, the prices collected in the island hotel industry are 20.1% higher this year than in 2019. An increase that is certainly lower than that observed in other regions (+34.7% in PACA), but does not contribute to the attractiveness of the tourist destination Corsica . Jean-Christophe Barrau admits to having increased prices by between 12 and 14% depending on the period in the two structures he runs.
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However, he assures that this increase is only intended to compensate for an increase in costs. “You should know that last March the salary table for the hotel industry was revised and a salary increase of 20% was approved, emphasizes the professional. In addition, for reasons of attractiveness, I no longer ask my employees to take breaks (with two separate shifts on the same day, editor’s note), which forced me to hire the equivalent of 4.5 full-time positions. These are personnel costs that we are liable to pay. Especially since we don’t have the opportunity to raise the prices too much in the catering trade, since we are in competition with other businesses in the microregion.
“We’re in the Nails”
A subject on which Pierre Negretti wants to convey a clear message. “In Corsica, hotels and restaurants charge normal prices, he insists. We’re in the nails. We can’t go any lower or we won’t be profitable anymore and we can’t go any higher or we won’t be competitive anymore.”
It remains to be seen whether the August figures will be better than the July figures. According to the Umih representative, it is still too early to know: “The period from August 7th to 15th is very crowded, but beyond that we have no visibility. It seems that the booking rate will drop from August 21st, but as people are booking more and more at the last minute, we can’t say that yet.”