Healthy Tourism in Pyrénées-Orientales Balances Trade Difficulties

Healthy Tourism in Pyrénées-Orientales Balances Trade Difficulties

The departmental director of the Banque de France, Aurore Markiewicz, announces a cautious resumption of economic activity in the country. After a stabilizing phase in 2023, a modest growth of 0.9% is predicted for 2024, largely due to the expected decrease in interest rates from June onwards. This economic upturn will also benefit the Pyrénées-Orientales department, which currently has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 12.2%, compared to the Occitanie region’s 8.8% and France’s national average of 7.2%.

A survey by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) of Pyrénées-Orientales among 300 companies across various sectors reveals an optimistic outlook for 2024. Despite a low activity volume in the fourth quarter of 2023, 16% of the companies in the industrial sector plan to expand their workforce in the coming year.

In a department heavily reliant on its seasonal activities, the cafés-hotels-restaurants and campsites sector ended 2023 on a positive note. Despite shrinking margins due to decreased purchasing power and increased operational costs, a quarter of the surveyed companies reported an increase in turnover. Moreover, businesses in this sector anticipate a 7.2% growth in their 2024 turnover according to the Banque de France’s economic survey, which could signify a promising 2024 season, according to Aurore Markiewicz.

Catherine Salies, director of France Travail, points out the challenges and opportunities presented by the strong seasonal nature of activity in the Pyrénées-Orientales. She notes that half of the jobs are season-linked and emphasizes the importance of job security in the region.

The construction sector, however, is expected to maintain a low activity level in 2024 with no prospects of hiring. The commercial sector was the most affected by the unfavorable economic conditions of 2023, with 55% of companies ending the year with a decrease in turnover. This trend is expected to continue into the first quarter of 2024, with 44% of companies predicting a continued decline in their turnover.