September 25, 2018 / 11:20 AM / a year ago

French hoteliers heading for a strong 2018 - KPMG

PARIS, Sept 25 (Reuters) - The French hotel sector is headed for a strong 2018, with Paris’ hoteliers expecting average revenue growth of 10-20 percent on a year-on-year basis thanks to demand from foreign tourists, said research and accountancy firm KPMG on Tuesday.

KPMG partner Stephane Botz said Paris’ so-called “Palace” hotels, which are the highest-ranked ones including landmarks such as The Ritz and Plaza Athenee, could see occupancy rates rise to 60-65 percent this year from 55.8 percent last year.

“There was a rebound in 2017 but 2018 is shaping up as an exceptional year due to the strong weight of Paris,” said Botz, who is a partner in KPMG’s real estate and hotels practice.

Tourist numbers had dropped after a wave of deadly attacks by Islamist militants in France in 2015 and 2016, but visitors have since flocked back to the country in the last two years.

Visits by foreign tourists, notably from Asia, were up 10 percent from last year in the first half of 2018, said Botz.

Foreign tourists to France numbered 86.9 million in 2017, up 5.1 percent from 2016, and could reach 89 million this year.

The tourism sector represents 7.1 percent of France’s gross domestic product and employs about 2 million people, and France is targeting 100 million foreign tourists by 2020. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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