Foreign affairs and international development minister Laurent Fabius presided over the closing meeting of the Tourism Promotion Council. During the year that has passed since the Tourism Forum, the Council heard testimony from a panel of 250 tourism professionals and government representatives for the purpose of establishing a strategy for 2020.
Accounting for more than two million jobs and 7% of GDP, the tourism sector has strategic importance for the growth of our economy. The goal is to attract 100 million tourists in 2020 and to increase the revenues generated by that sector. Of the 40 proposals contained in the Council’s report, Mr. Fabius endorsed the following measures:
- Improving the welcome extended to tourists. This must become a national priority. The measures adopted relate to both travel preparations (facilitating the issuance of visas, enhancing international media coverage of tourism), and the smooth unfolding of one’s trip (launching a major publicity campaign on the hospitality of French people and professionals, streamlining VAT reimbursement procedures).
- Adopting a cohesive strategy concentrating on a small number of world-famous top destinations, as a way of focusing efforts and financial resources.
- Developing digital technologies. That will entail overhauling the tourism promotion portal, ensuring very-high-speed Internet coverage in the main tourist areas, adopting a paperless city pass in the Ile-de-France region, and clarifying contractual relations between the traditional tourism sector stakeholders and digital professionals. Yesterday’s adoption of two important measures by the National Assembly is line with this strategy […].
- Prioritizing tourism-related professions and training, focusing on foreign-language skills, quality service, digital skills and general knowledge. A conference of establishments of excellence is needed to improve the visibility of available training possibilities. Creating a Research Chair for tourism should improve coordination among academics and professionals working in this field. Online training programs will be developed.
- Establishing an investment strategy for tourism, with the creation of a dedicated investment fund. It will be set up this fall by the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations. Furthermore, the third “Investing in the Future” program, available to businesses in 2016, will have a tourism component.
- Supporting initiatives showcasing the diversity of terroirs and products. Our traditional “Heritage Days” celebration will now extend to intangible heritage, particularly our food. Given the success of the first edition, the Goût de France/Good France operation will be repeated in 2016. A “ranking of gastronomic rankings” will be introduced this fall to make international rankings more transparent.
The implementation of this tourism strategy will be examined at the first annual tourism conference, which will bring together government ministers and tourism professionals on October 8.