For the first time, Atout France, the thirteen regional tourism offices in mainland France and several private companies from the tourism sector are joining forces to position France as the ideal holiday destination. Tourists in France are welcome to come and experience ‘what really matters’.
For more than a year now, the measures taken to combat the COVID-19 virus, which is affecting the entire world, has had a major impact on the international economy. Tourism is one of the sectors most affected. According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), the number of international arrivals (both for business and tourism) has fallen by 74% worldwide. This means that the number of arrivals is 1 billion fewer people compared to 2019. According to the French National Bank, sales figures in tourism in France in 2020 decreased by 50% compared to 2019.
Although the virus has not yet been completely eradicated, the French government can take more flexible measures to receive foreign tourists. This is due to lower infection rates and an increase in the number of people being vaccinated across Europe. Since May 3, European tourists are again welcome in France, on the condition that they have a negative PCR test. This is a positive development that can ensure the resumption of tourism activities slowly.
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This is the reason why Atout France, the 13 regional tourism offices of the French continent and a number of private institutions have joined forces to develop a joint strategy to attract tourists back to France. Today, a unique communication campaign is presented to counter the competition. In this campaign, France is portrayed as an ideal travel destination for European tourists. These European tourists already account for 75% of the total number of foreign visitors in France. In 2021, this percentage should rise to more than 85%.
Titled #ExploreFrance, the campaign invites tourists from 10 different European markets to come and experience “what really matters” in France. Emphasis will be placed on the renewed and air-conditioned offer that meets the needs of travelers.
This campaign pays great attention to slow tourism, nature, culture, heritage and art of living. At the request of all participants, sustainability will form the green thread in this campaign.
The three main objectives of this campaign are:
- Emphasize the various measures that will be implemented to ensure the safety and health of all
- Information about open tourist sites and where to go
- Inspiration by suggesting new destinations and offering activities that suit the needs of travelers
In addition to reaching out to European media and tourism professionals to inform people of the measures, the tourism offer and the flexibility offered, this campaign also serves as a source of inspiration. We want to offer European traveler suggestions for amazing destinations and experiences, and create reservations.
This campaign will be launched in parts, spread over the summer and late season. In this way, both the gradual plan announced by the French government and developments in various European countries regarding travel restrictions can be taken into account.
The green light, which will be given during the month of May, will be adapted to the travel options each country currently holds: the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden and Austria.
This campaign will be mainly digital and will mainly target families, millennials and DINK (childless couples).
Cooperation between all parties has resulted in the pooling of manpower and financial resources. In total, around €10 million will be invested in the campaign in 2021 by both the French government (via Atout France), the thirteen French regional tourism offices and private partners.
“International travelers are the beating heart of tourism in France. We have missed our foreign friends and look forward to welcoming them back, just as they are looking forward to returning to the places that interest them! We need to cement our position as the world’s leading tourist destination. France has everything it takes to stay that way. This is the essence of the “What really matters #ExploreFrance” campaign that we are launching in ten European markets,” said Jean-Baptiste Lemoine, Minister for Foreign Affairs at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, in charge of tourism, French abroad and Francophonie.
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