This summer, tourists visiting France will be European and in small numbers


Tourists take pictures of themselves in Toulouse in the summer of 2020 – Fred Scheiber / Sepah

For two weeks, the Secretary of State for Tourism, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, is visiting European capitals to admire the destination France this summer. He also met with tour operators in the United States, which had gone “green” with Canada on Thursday, meaning Americans and Canadians who have been vaccinated can now come to France.

It aims to attract customers so that France maintains its position as the world’s leading tourist destination, bringing in 57 billion euros (7.5% of GDP) in 2019. However, the “return to normal” will be hampered by various policies vaccines, classification of countries by color, health fears of COVID-19 and competition from Spain, Italy and Greece.

“There is a big delay with German customers”

Health cards, countries classified in green, red or orange, vaccination status, quarantine en route or en route… Foreign tourists who will come to France this summer to spend their holidays must therefore be mainly European and in number. Foreign customers will be “mostly European”, confirmed Didier Areno, director of the consulting company ProTourism, who notes “very strong growth in customers from Southern Europe, Spain and Italy in terms of reservations”.

“There is a huge delay with German and obviously British customers,” he said. Some countries, like Germany, have classified us in the hard amber zone, which affects their behavior. The United Kingdom, classified “orange” by France, sent 13 million of the 72 million tourists to France in 2019 who had gone abroad, according to the French ambassador in London, who spoke by videoconference at the start June. His counterparts and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne.

“Holidays are one of the fundamental rights in France”

“We are catching up with Dutch customers,” said Didier Areno. In the Netherlands, “holidays in France are part of fundamental rights”, noted with humor in early June the French ambassador to the Netherlands. According to him, France is the first tourist destination in this country, where 50% of the population goes on vacation abroad.

Before the crisis, the Dutch represented 10% of the clientele of campsites (Germans 7%, English 5%, Belgians 4% for the French), according to Sebastian Mansau, associate specialist in tourism at the firm Roland Berger. The percentage is expected to drop this year. “Typically, the Germans and the Dutch represent 30% of our customers, there it will be 10%,” confirms Quentin Schapelinck, Managing Director of Homer Vacans, specializing in mobile home stays.

Thank you “Emily in Paris” and “Lupine”

Beyond Europe, the United States, which have just gone “green”, remain fond of France, pushed “by the chain”. Emilie in Paris or lupine, According to the French ambassador in Washington. As for Asians, “we will not see them again for a long time,” according to Didier Areno, “because they are rarely vaccinated and because they have succeeded in controlling the epidemic by closing the borders: they have no interest in opening up so that their citizens can return to our regions.

If France does not expect to find its international tourists immediately, it hopes to fill the void with national tourism. According to Didier Areno, “this year, 38 million French people will go on vacation or short stay, and 35 million will go on vacation in commercial accommodation or short stay in July-August. “This already represents, compared to 2020, a record year, two million more people. We are going to be registered for the record, “he assured us.


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