France sees travel boom ahead of Olympic Games

US accounts for 23.8 pc of flight bookings to Paris during Olympics
/ Paris
France sees travel boom ahead of Olympic Games

A large number of tourists are expected to head to France for Olympic Games

France is experiencing an exponential travel surge ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, with flights and hotel bookings shooting up. Visitors from the United States are expected to top the list of source markets during the Games.
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France is experiencing a travel surge ahead of the 2024 summer Olympics and Americans are leading the charge. According to US-based travel firm Sojern, the Paris 2024 Olympic Games from July 26 to August 11, will bring together 10,500 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) that represent nations from all over the world. It says that the games will be the biggest event ever organised in France.

The statement says that between the Super Bowl, Olympics, European Championship, and other major sporting events, global ad spending is projected to reach USD 61 billion this year alone. Not only do these events bolster advertising revenues, but they also drive incredible travel demand, with countries seeing massive spikes as attendees flock to cheer on their favourite teams.

Sojern says that flight bookings surged 63 pc compared to the prior year ahead of the F1 Grand Prix in Singapore and travellers booked their trips to Qatar well in advance of normal leisure travel to secure their place at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. It says that these major sporting events also renew interest in host destinations long after the final match, like Qatar, which, after hosting the World Cup, saw between a 79 to 255 pc increase in travel trends.

The statement adds that 6.3 million travellers visited the Eiffel Tower in 2023, surpassing pre-Covid tourism and the Olympics will only solidify its place as top-of-mind for travellers.

Tickets for the 33rd Olympic Games went on sale on November 30, and travel demand to France has already increased substantially. For the period of the Olympic Games in 2024, flight bookings, not just searches, to Paris are up 125 pc compared to the same travel period last year, with many coming from the US, says the statement.

According to Sojern flight booking data, 23.8 pc of bookings during the Olympic period to Paris originate from the United States, making it the top origin country internationally followed by Canada, United Kingdom, Japan and Spain. The United States led the medal count in both the 2020 and 2016 Olympics, which may be contributing to demand.

It adds that hotel bookings from Parisians travelling to other parts of France are up 49 pc during the Olympics season compared to 2023, indicating that many Parisians plan to leave the city during the games to avoid crowds. Lille, Nice, Corsica, Lyon, and Toulouse are top destinations.

“We are excited about the increasing interest in Lyon as a tourist destination and we look forward to hosting visitors before and after the Olympic events. Lyon, just a 2-hour train ride from Paris, offers the perfect blend of sports, gastronomy, culture, and the renowned French art de vivre. Having hosted major events like the Women’s Football World Cup and the Rugby World Cup recently, we’re well-versed in delivering a memorable French experience. Whether travellers are from near or far, Lyon aims to leverage the rising travel demand to establish a lasting appeal to new visitors,” says Mathilde Carpentier, Partnership and Promotion Director of OnlyLyon Tourisme et Congrès, the city’s tourism promotion organisation.

“By using the right channels throughout the year, not just seasonally, DMOs can reach travellers in the moment and inspire them to think beyond sporting events. Not only do always-on, multichannel campaigns give DMOs better insights, but these types of campaigns enable them to maximise their budgets, do more with less, and get in front of travellers at every stage of the planning cycle,” says Noreen Henry, Chief Revenue Officer of Sojern.

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