France is known to be one of the world’s leading tourist
fact, it has welcomed 90 million international tourists in 2019, ranking 1st
worldwide and representing 8% of its GDP, generating around €200 billion per
annum for the French economy. Tourism is indeed an important part of
France’s dynamic soft power abroad.
The pandemic: a hard hit on France
As the Covid-19
pandemic hit the world and severely impacted the tourism sector, it led to an
impressive 40% drop in revenue for the year 2020, which represents a 60 billion
Globally, Europe is the second
hardest-hit region, behind the Asia-Pacific, seeing a drop in visits of 66% in
the first half of the year. The drop in French and foreign tourist spending in
France over 2020 is estimated at between 30% and 35%. However, France
does appear to be resisting better than its European neighbors, thanks to
its solid domestic market.
A firm reaction
Many initiatives mitigated the dire consequences of the crisis:
domestic tourism, through ‘staycations’, saved last year’s summer season. A
good example of is the “Cet été je visite la France” [This summer I visit France] campaign,
which was very successful with over 80 business partners joining, over 20
million of videos that were viewed on various social media platforms.
European tourists, who generated 69% of last year’s revenue,
now amount to 81% of the total, compensating for the drop in international
arrivals from Asia.
Tourism companies have also enjoyed all the emergency
measures adopted by the Government in response to the pandemic’s economic
Support for jobs, through the partial employment
measure, which the sector has used widely;
Support for companies’
cash flow through the Government-guaranteed loan (PGE) and the solidarity
fund, open until the end of 2020, as well as certain social contribution
instalments of rent and fees for use of public land for SMEs, particularly
during administrative closure.
Moreover, the recovery plan presented by the
Government in early September 2020 includes the creation of asustainable tourism fund with €50 million to foster the adaptation of tourism
activities. Restaurants and tourist accommodation providers will receive
financial support (grants) in order to cover the costs of investments for
the transition and development of sustainable tourism projects. The French
Agency for the Ecological Transition (ADEME) will be the leader for the
deployment of this fund, in close liaison with local government in order
to address specific needs.