France is the world’s most popular tourist destination. Its appeal is due to the wide variety of things it has to offer in every area, especially its culture and tangible and intangible heritage, its flourishing artistic creations and its cultural and creative industries, its language and its art de vivre.
In 2016, France welcomed 83 million international tourists. Numbers recorded in the first months in 2017 are very encouraging: if all continues as normal, 89 million foreign tourists are expected to visit France in 2017.
The French Government is determined to increase this appeal by taking and supporting concrete measures in six priority areas:
1. The quality of hospitality and safety of our sites are essential to satisfying tourists and ensuring they will be back;
2. The structuring of tourism possibilities to attract a growing number of international tourists;
3. Government investment support, a fundamental component of the Government’s strategy;
4. Training and employment, key areas in terms of quality tourism services offered;
5. Support for digitization and information sharing to make the tourism sector more competitive;
6. Access to holidays for as many people as possible.
The Government’s tourism roadmap was presented by the Prime Minister on 26 July 2017 at an Inter-ministerial Tourism Council meeting with the ministers concerned, elected officials and tourism professionals.
The first concrete measures were announced including:
- Issuing visas under 48 hours in ten additional countries. This is already happening in China (where visas are issued in 24 hours since 1 January 2016), Singapore, South Africa, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Turkey. This issuing of visas under 48 hours will be extended by 1 November 2017 to Russia, Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Indonesia and India. It could then be extended to Saudi Arabia and Vietnam by 30 June 2018.
- Reducing the waiting time at borders in airports to 30 minutes for European citizens and 45 minutes for non-Europeans as of 1 January 2018.
- Establishing a motorway maintenance plan between Ile-de-France airports and Paris.
- Preparing an investment plan in seaside and mountain resorts to maintain the quality of services and of the existing accommodation facilities.
“France is the world’s most popular tourist destination. But we want to, we must, do even better. The whole world is jumping on the tourism bandwagon, and France plans to maintain its number one position.” Edouard Philippe, France’s Prime Minister