Thursday, August 11, 2005

It's August in France...

...but the natives can't enjoy it, because they're broke:

The French now have so much free time that they cannot afford to enjoy it, tourism professionals said yesterday, blaming a sharp fall in summer hotel and restaurant revenues on the average Gallic tourist's newfound parsimony.

With many employees entitled to up to 11 weeks annual leave, thanks to the 35-hour-week laws introduced four years ago, the French are taking more breaks. However, they tend to be shorter and holidaymakers have less cash to spend when they are away.

....France's faltering economy and unemployment rate is not helping either. A recent survey by Ipsos polling group found that 52% of French people planned to spend less than €1,500 (£1,038) of their budget on holidays this year.

The proportion taking at least one break away from home is also falling. Nearly 16% of the population have never been away and half of all French holidaymakers now stay with friends or family.

The trend is being particularly keenly felt along the Mediterranean and south-western Atlantic coast, where most of the year's income is earned in July and August.

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