World Tourism Day - Statement by Jean-Yves Le Drian (27 September 2017)


On this World Tourism Day, I am delighted by the very positive numbers we have seen with respect to foreign tourists in France this past summer. They confirm the trend I had announced in July during my visit to Giverny: 88-89 million foreign tourists will most likely have visited France by the end of 2017, up 5-6 % compared to 2016.

For Paris/Ile-de-France alone, we should see 34 million tourists for all of 2017, compared with 30 million in 2016 and 32 million in 2015. All regions are recording good results, but some, such as Auvergne-Rhône Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, are exceptional.

The results for summer are indeed excellent. Long-distance travelers in particular made France their destination this summer, with a very significant increase in arrivals by plane: 13% more Japanese, 29% more Indians, 24% more Brazilians, 31% more Russians, and 18% more Americans. The number of tourists from the U.S. could come close to the 5 million tourists welcomed over the course of the entire year. Arrivals by air for all travelers combined rose a total of 7.7% for the summer, while the summer of 2016 drew numerous international tourists, particularly to regional destinations, thanks to the success of the euro. That number reached 8.9% for Paris.

Online hotel reservation sites confirmed these good results. Overnight reservations increased this past summer by 20-25%, a direct result of the significant increase in the length of travelers’ stays. According to INSEE, the total number of nights spent in France by foreign tourists since the beginning of the year rose by about 7%.

This year too, France should maintain its position as the world’s leading tourist destination, improving its rank among countries with the highest tourism revenues. By the end of July, more than €24.5 billion in tourism revenues had already been recorded, up nearly 9% compared to the same period last year.

The government’s aim is to consolidate this top rank, bringing the number of international tourists to 100 million by 2020 and increasing annual tourism revenues to €50 billion. Achieving this dual objective could create an additional 30,000 jobs in both mainland and overseas France. As a reminder, the tourism sector as a whole represents nearly 8% of our GDP and 2 million direct and indirect jobs.

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne’s presence today at the IFTM Top Resa trade fair at Porte de Versailles, as well as that of Annick Girardin and Benjamin Griveaux, is a concrete illustration of the government’s attachment to engaging in dialogue with tourism professionals.

I will convene the next Tourism Steering Council on October 10; the prime minister has tasked me with chairing this council. This event will provide an opportunity to meet once again with stakeholders in the sector and to propose concrete measures to develop the connectivity of our destinations, to promote and ensure the safety of tourist routes. The third edition of the annual tourism conference before the end of the year will provide an opportunity for me to review the measures identified and progress achieved with respect to the government’s roadmap aimed at promoting and restructuring the French tourism sector.