Atout France is launching a recovery campaign entitled “What really matters! #ExploreFrance”.

It will be the largest strategic campaign to date for the reconquest of travellers by the national tourism development agency. Next to Atout France, the campaign involves 13 Regional Tourism Committees / Tourism Agencies as well as a number of private companies in the travel industry aiming to win the heart of travellers from 10 European markets.

For more than a year now, France’s tourism has been confronted – like the rest of the world – with the biggest crisis in its history. Last year, according to the Banque de France, international tourism receipts fell by just over 50% in 2020 compared to 2019.

However, improving health conditions and the acceleration of vaccination campaigns in Europe have enabled the French government to plan a relaxation of conditions of access to the country, as a third of EU citizens had received their first jab of an anti-Covid vaccine by May 15.

Since May 3, tourists from the European Union have again been able to travel to France, provided they present a negative PCR test. This is a positive sign that tourism activity will gradually resume.

Atout France, in cooperation with the 13 regional tourism committees, tourism promotion agencies and private companies, have developed a joint strategy to win back European visitors. A new communication campaign has been launched and is unprecedented in its scope. It has been doted with a special fund of €10m put together by the French government, the various tourism institutions and private partners. This mobilisation aims to position France as THE ideal destination to travel again for European travellers. Target countries for the campaign are the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden and Austria.

Prior to the pandemic, European travellers represented more than 75% of all international visitor arrivals. As long-haul travel still waits for its resumption, European arrivals should represent more than 85% by 2021.

Under the brand name #ExploreFrance, the “What really matters!” campaign will invite tourists from 10 European markets to come and find what really counts in France. It will also promote a tourism offer that has been adapted to the new aspirations of visitors- such as stricter health protocols, enhanced outdoor activities and more “authentic” experiences.

The map of French destinations highlighted in the new Atout France campaign towards European travellers (Photo: Atout France)

A return to the ‘essentials’

The campaign will highlight innovative offers in the areas of slow tourism, discovery of natural areas, culture and heritage, as well as the “art of living”. It will be guided by the desire of Atout France and its partners to promote more sustainable tourism.

Targets of the campaign is to:

Appease European tourists about the health protocols deployed by French tourism stakeholders;

Inform about the tourist facilities available to visitors;

Inspire travellers by suggesting new destinations and experiences in line with their aspirations.

In addition to the actions carried out with the media and European tourism professionals to reassure and inform about the health measures, the commercial flexibility measures and the proposed tourism offer, this promotion campaign will help to inspire European travellers by suggesting new destinations and experiences, and to trigger bookings for long stays.

The campaign, which is planned to run in summer and autumn, has been designed to be deployed gradually and flexibly depending on the evolution of the health situation in France and in the various European markets, as well as over lifted restrictions on intra-European travels.

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