France has long been known as the world’s top tourism destination, with over 90 million international visitors in 2019. Heading out of the Covid crisis, the nation’s Government aims to “relaunch” the destination, with a target of attracting an annual average of €20bn investment in tourism infrastructure, as opposed to €15bn before the crisis.

Already this year, France is expecting to welcome 50 million international travellers; mostly from Europe. But the country has the ambition to rapidly rebuild its tourism industry. At the “Destination France” Summit, French President Emmanuel Macron highlighted his vision of tourism in front of 50 distinguished guests from the travel industry, both national and international. Among the audience were large corporations such as Accor, Carnival, Expedia, Airbnb, Marriott, la Compagnie des Alpes or Air France.

“Destination France has been challenged during the crisis. In terms of tourism revenues, we are no longer the leader. We then have to get back on track very quickly to become the leading destination again. The objective is to regain our rank as the world’s number one destination by being much more resilient and by thinking about the future. However, we will not do again what we did before the crisis. We must succeed in developing a tourism model that is much more meaningful, which is integrated into our territories,” said Macron.

Reaction to the President’s speech has been enthusiastic. On social media, Matthew Upchurch, CEO of the Virtuoso travel network stated, “It was the most impressive address by a G20 Head of State on tourism I’ve ever heard. It was an honor to participate in the sessions and uplifting to see such a well focused and all encompassing plan to help transform our industry.”

Transforming France’s tourism industry

The French president wants to see the development of more authentic experiences, new itineraries and initiatives to make France exemplary in terms of climate protection. And also experience an improvement in the quality of the tourism offer. According to Macron, it will take 5 to 10 years to give French tourism its new dynamic.

A “plan to win back tourism” will be unveiled in mid-November by French Prime Minister, Jean Castex. 

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