Caroline Leboucher, CEO of Atout France, France’s tourism development agency, and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Secretary of State for Tourism, French Nationals Abroad and Francophonie, participated in two virtual round tables at the WTTC Global Summit on April 26.
For each of these discussions, they highlighted new trends in tourism in France, as well as proposals to meet the challenges of the sector’s recovery in the coming months.
During the round table "A map for the future, to accelerate Europe’s recovery," Leboucher insisted on the need to be proactive in coordinating actions, and on the urgency of collecting data to support decision-making.
“Without a doubt, the pandemic was a trial and error situation where governments and businesses had to learn quickly," she said.
She also mentioned the importance of solidarity with a hard-hit sector that still struggles.
Welcoming back international tourists
France is known for its plan to support and revive the sector, with measures that have helped maintain a large part of the workforce.
Invited to the round table "From Turmoil to Transformation: Protecting our Workforce & Recovering 100 Million Jobs ESP," Mr. Lemoyne spoke about the government support in place to protect the workforce and recover jobs.
On the eve of the country reopening for the summer, the Secretary of State also mentioned a new measure to give certainty to the sector and support businesses in hiring temporary workers for the upcoming vacation season.
He hopes to resume international tourism this summer, as tourists from the European Union represent 36% of international visitors and are the main driver of the sector’s recovery for France.
Lemoyne also stressed the importance of renewal and adaptation to change, with the French mountains as first example.
The ski resorts of the Alps suffered greatly during the winter when the lifts were closed, but they managed to find a new audience in the summer, thanks to their nature and wide open spaces.
The flow of visitors and the traveller’s interests are changing and the offer has to adapt.
This clear trend emerged during the Destination Montages—Grand Ski trade show in which 465 international tour operators and 330 mountain professionals participated (7,980 business meetings).
The French representatives agreed to mention several basic trends such as staycation as more destinations and companies are now focusing on their own communities and on domestic tourism.
This also responds to a new concern for travellers to care more about the environment and social development of the places they visit, with the search for more authentic and longer experiences (slow tourism), as mentioned by Leboucher.
On April 27, French President Emmanuel Macron sent a video message to all event participants, extending a cordial invitation to meet in France before the end of the year to reflect on the industry’s next challenges, particularly on the issue of sustainability.
He emphasized the willingness of France, the first international pre-pandemic destination, to act to revive the sector as soon as possible, and called on the private sector to continue to invest and work hand in hand with the public sector to recreate the jobs lost during the pandemic.
Replays of the round tables are available on the WTTC YouTube channel: Watch From Disruption to Transformation: protecting our workforce and bringing100 million jobs here.
Watch A Map for the Future: Accelerating Europe’s Recovery here.
For all the latest tourism news from France, visit France.fr.
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