copy the linklink copied!France

copy the linklink copied!Tourism in the economy

Tourism plays a major role in the French economy. Traditional tourism sectors such as accommodation and food services, account for approximately 6% of GDP, but tourism also acts as an engine of growth for many other sectors. Total internal tourism consumption, which combines tourism-related spending by both French residents and non-residents, represents over 7% of GDP, with two-thirds of the total impact of tourism is accounted for by French residents. Direct tourism employment accounts for 1.4 million jobs, and over 2 million when considering indirect jobs. Tourism contributes positively to the balance of payments, with the tourism balance typically contributing between EUR 14 - 17 billion annually. Travel exports accounted for 22.2% of total service exports in 2018.

Inbound tourism arrivals stood at just under 90 million in 2018, an increase of 3.0% from 2017. Thanks to heightened security measures and additional marketing efforts, visitor numbers have recovered from the drop that occurred in 2016 as a consequence of the 2015 terrorist attacks. In 2018, international tourism revenues were estimated at EUR 57 billion. EU countries account for 69% of all international arrivals, with the top three countries (United Kingdom, Germany and the Benelux countries) accounting for over 46%. A further 10% of visitors come from the Americas and 6.8% come from Asia.

Domestic tourism accounted for 897.6 million nights in 2018, up 0.2% over 2017. 268.2 million domestic trips were taken in the same year, of which 189.8 million were overnight.

copy the linklink copied!Tourism governance and funding

Since 2014, responsibility for tourism policy is shared between the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, which promotes France abroad as a tourist destination, and the Ministry of the Economy and Finance, which is responsible for the regulatory framework.

An Inter-Ministerial Tourism Council meets twice a year under the chair of the Prime Minister, with the aim of encouraging ministries and departments working in tourism-related areas to move forward with priority projects. It is supported by a Steering Council chaired by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, which meets in the intervening period.

Policy implementation involves two agencies under state control. Atout France, which is responsible for promoting France abroad, has the legal form of a group of economic interests which brings additional flexibility to its mission and sourcing of funds. Its budget is typically between EUR 70 - 75 million, with around half of this figure being state subsidy. The National Agency for Holiday Vouchers is an agency responsible for broadening access to holidays.

At a territorial level, public governance of tourism concerns all levels. Each region is required to set up a Regional Tourism Committee, as well as preparing a regional tourism development plan setting out medium-term objectives and the terms governing policy implementation. Regions are also responsible for collecting tourism-related data, and for co-ordinating public and private initiatives in the fields of tourist information, development and promotion. Departmental tourism development schemes are prepared based on the guidelines outlined in the plans produced by regions, and Departmental Tourism Committees must also be established. At local level, municipalities granted powers to act in tourism-related fields can set up tourist offices to provide tourist information and promote the tourism offering, and may also market tourist services.

To improve the co-ordination of tourism, a Strategic Tourism Committee was established as a framework for sharing information between sectors and for constructive collaboration on public policy (particularly as regards the mobility of employees in the sector). Stakeholders from all tourism-adjacent sectors are invited to join.

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France: Organisational chart of tourism bodies
France: Organisational chart of tourism bodies

Source: OECD, adapted from the Directorate-General for Enterprise, 2020

Tourism benefits indirectly from state spending in other policy areas, including culture and heritage, transport infrastructure and environmental enhancement. Estimated total financial resources applied to tourism amounts to approximately EUR 5 billion.

copy the linklink copied!Tourism policies and programmes

The pattern of increasing tourist flows represents a key challenge in terms of the sustainability of tourism and its public acceptance. A high proportion of international tourist travel is concentrated in three French regions - the greater Paris area, the French Riviera, and the ski resorts of the Alps. In addition, the majority of French residents go on holiday to coastal regions, while the country’s mountain regions are seeking new areas of growth to mitigate the adverse impacts of global warming on winter pursuits. France’s tourism offer must therefore be structured more effectively, with target markets made more aware of its diversity.

During the 2017 Inter-ministerial Tourism Council meeting (CIT), the roadmap for tourism development was set and the Government agreed to focus action on six key areas:

  • Welcome and security - improvements in service standards have been achieved in particular through reduced visa waiting times and border crossing times at airports, while quality-related efforts are focused on modernising and promoting the Government’s Tourism Quality label (Qualité TourismeTM).

  • Dispersal - in order to attract and disperse international tourists across France, including its overseas territories. Key elements include the destination contracts policy, which brings together all parties involved in delivering a local tourist offer.

  • State support for investment - a major pillar of the Government’s strategy for improving the quality of the tourist offer and promoting better connectivity. This is achieved through deployment of the France Tourism Development Fund (France développement tourisme).

  • Training and employment - crucial in terms of service quality and playing a major role in combating unemployment given the number of jobs created by the industry.

  • Supporting digitalisation and information – specifically to increase the global competitiveness of France’s tourism industry. Key elements include development of the DATAtourisme portal, France NUMerique (box 2.8), Tourisme Lab incubator network and economic intelligence observatory, Veille Info Tourisme.

  • Broader access to holidays - in particular for people living with a disability, represents a social objective and a way to enhance the competitiveness of destinations;

The Inter-Ministerial Tourism Council meetings have subsequently be organised around these priority areas. At its January 2018 meeting, which covered topics relating to promotion and investment, the Council approved an increase in funding for the tourism industry from the government-backed guarantor agency, Caisse des dépôts, and public investment bank, Bpifrance, and agreed permanent arrangements for transferring a portion of visa revenues to Atout France to fund advertising targeted at international markets. The Council acknowledged at its meeting in July 2018 that progress had been made in the digital sector, and examined proposals for improving synergies between sport and tourism. The meeting held in May 2019 focused on employment and training and related governance issues. Topics discussed included schemes to help local authorities, including, organisational support for the development of tourism-related economic activities at heritage sites, a VAT refund scheme, and a new project aimed at simplifying the regulatory framework for tourism. A meeting scheduled for late 2019 will focus, in particular, on broadening access to holidays and sustainable tourism.

To bring forward co-ordinated action at the local level, destination contracts were formed in 2014 and are designed to encourage public-private partnerships around specific themes, with the aim of creating and promoting a clear and attractive offer for both national and international audiences. Each contract constitutes a commitment on the part of all interests to a shared tourism strategy, by means of actions which focus on the attractiveness of the offer and improved service quality. Destination contracts are a way of offsetting the disadvantages that arise from the very large number of public and private actors in the tourism industry and of bringing together local and national tourism strategies. While the investment of state funding is modest, this concept exercises considerable leverage. Twenty-three destination contracts were signed between 2015 and 2018, while a further eight were renewed in 2018.

France has responded to the development of digital platforms, which is particularly relevant to tourist accommodation. Accommodation in private homes has become a major component of the national offer, especially in cities, but does not always further the objectives of housing policy. In an effort to avoid obstructing the development of a dynamic new economy in furnished tourist rentals, while preserving housing market equilibrium, France has opted to take a regulatory approach, in particular through the adoption of the 2018 Law on Changes in Housing, Land Management and Digital Technology, or ELAN Law. Under this Law, in areas severely affected by rising housing prices, municipalities will be able to impose restrictions on second-home rentals and limit the length of time for which a primary residence can be rented to 120 days per year (this 120-day limit is also imposed on platforms).

copy the linklink copied!Statistical Profile

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France: Domestic, inbound and outbound tourism

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

TOURISM FLOWS, THOUSAND

Domestic tourism

Total domestic trips

263 859

260 038

255 498

276 537

268 152

Overnight visitors (tourists)

196 232

191 644

187 942

191 636

189 755

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

67 627

68 394

67 555

84 901

78 397

Nights in all types of accommodation

989 828

961 651

938 608

895 659

897 591

Hotels and similar establishments

..

..

..

..

..

Other collective establishments

..

..

..

..

..

Private accommodation

..

..

..

..

..

Inbound tourism

Total international arrivals

206 599

203 302

203 042

207 274

211 998

Overnight visitors (tourists)

83 701

84 452

82 682

86 758

89 322

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

122 898

118 851

120 360

120 516

122 676

Top markets

United Kingdom

11 751

12 236

12 019

12 698

13 008

Germany

12 909

11 478

11 753

12 256

12 272

Belgium

9 257

9 614

9 110

10 448

10 507

Italy

7 358

7 594

6 992

6 601

6 963

Switzerland

6 480

6 010

6 353

7 013

6 772

Nights in all types of accommodation

571 651

577 211

561 037

582 100

596 784

Hotels and similar establishments

..

..

..

..

..

Other collective establishments

..

..

..

..

..

Private accommodation

..

..

..

..

..

Outbound tourism

Total international departures

31 942

30 608

29 636

44 265

44 474

Overnight visitors (tourists)

27 919

26 648

26 483

29 055

26 914

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

4 023

3 960

3 153

15 209

17 560

Top destinations

Spain

4 182

4 430

4 206

4 429

4 526

Italy

2 948

3 175

3 027

3 192

3 311

Great Britain

1 965

1 668

1 813

1 989

1 804

Belgium

1 824

1 822

1 613

1 660

1 727

Portugal

1 140

1 243

1 397

1 555

1 627

TOURISM RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURE, MILLION EUR

Inbound tourism

Total international receipts

50 518

59 901

57 266

59 805

62 030

International travel receipts

43 769

52 584

49 834

52 097

55 450

International passenger transport receipts

6 749

7 317

7 432

7 708

6 580

Outbound tourism

Total international expenditure

43 996

43 011

44 241

46 307

49 130

International travel expenditure

36 701

35 627

36 476

37 867

40 527

International passenger transport expenditure

7 295

7 384

7 765

8 440

8 603

.. Not available

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934076761

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France: Enterprises and employment in tourism

Number of establishments1

Number of persons employed2

2017

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Total

..

1 266 421

1 282 702

1 318 006

1 361 019

1 382 831

Tourism industries

298 414

1 251 408

1 268 217

1 303 487

1 344 350

1 367 134

Accommodation services for visitors

50 123

211 126

210 805

212 122

214 866

216 623

Hotels and similar establishments

23 222

170 996

170 424

171 100

173 445

176 046

Food and beverage serving industry

196 032

611 070

628 151

658 636

691 794

710 313

Passenger transport

4 660

272 474

270 406

271 535

271 747

274 683

Air passenger transport

575

63 669

61 331

60 577

60 867

60 809

Railways passenger transport

19

166 167

164 864

165 589

165 708

167 493

Road passenger transport

3 192

32 718

34 318

35 349

35 461

36 202

Water passenger transport

874

9 920

9 893

10 020

9 711

10 179

Passenger transport supporting services

..

..

..

..

..

..

Transport equipment rental

6 420

13 540

13 838

13 949

14 197

14 518

Travel agencies and other reservation services industry

8 539

45 865

45 469

44 958

45 210

45 549

Cultural industry

780

12 660

12 907

12 933

12 904

13 000

Sports and recreation industry

31 860

84 673

86 641

89 354

93 632

92 448

Retail trade of country-specific tourism characteristic goods

..

..

..

..

..

..

Other country-specific tourism industries

..

..

..

..

..

..

Other industries

..

15 013

14 485

14 519

16 669

15 697

.. Not available

1. Data refer to number of enterprises.

2. Data refer to number of employees.

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934076780

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France: Internal tourism consumption
Million EUR

2018

Domestic tourism expenditure

Inbound tourism expenditure

Internal tourism consumption

Total

89 277

64 059

173 299

Consumption products

82 446

62 661

165 070

Tourism characteristic products

56 548

46 427

122 938

Accommodation services for visitors

13 904

19 823

53 690

Food and beverage serving services

8 110

9 200

17 310

Passenger transport services

19 402

11 308

30 710

Air passenger transport services

10 265

7 891

18 155

Railways passenger transport services

7 179

1 309

8 488

Road passenger transport services

1 582

1 589

3 171

Water passenger transport services

376

520

896

Passenger transport supporting services

..

..

..

Transport equipment rental services

1 663

1 014

2 677

Travel agencies and other reservation services industry

7 402

1 230

8 632

Cultural services

1 226

1 399

2 625

Sports and recreation services

4 842

2 452

7 295

Country-specific tourism characteristic goods

..

..

..

Country-specific tourism characteristic services

..

..

..

Other consumption products

25 898

16 234

42 132

Tourism connected products

..

..

..

Non-tourism related consumption products

..

..

..

Non-consumption products

6 831

1 399

8 229

.. Not available

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934076799

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