Tourism is a key role player to raise world economy and it is not an exaggeration. According to UN World Tourism Association, export earnings in the year 2014 is US $ 1.5 trillion. 9% world GDP resides upon international tourism and 1 in 11 employed person belongs to tourism industry. This number will only grow up in coming years and not only developed nations are taking their slices but emerging markets are making their presence felt. In this blog I shall focus upon France which still 2 years back was ruling the world of tourism.
France and its Tourism Efforts
Before a few years ago French Minister of Culture and Communication Mr. Pellerin and Minister of Finance Mr. Fabius spoke at a tourism conference and stressed upon the fact that the country seriously needs to take up a sense of tourist friendliness.Before this it seems that France was over confident of its past laurels and its direct victims were its tourists. Many had complained of unpleasant experiences.
For year 2013 France saw a footfall of 84.7 million foreign tourists. It was highest among all. Same year saw US to record 62.7 million foreign tourists, China 57.6 million, Spain 56.2 million and Italy 46.1 million. That made France leading the race well ahead. 7% GDP and 2 million job opportunities that made up the importance of French tourism for its economy. To boost up its tourism industry further what it needed was to drop its foreign tourist unfriendly image.
France could not really ignore its tourism industry as with an annual income of 42 billion euros stakes were high. Like trade and commerce, tourism is equally important to her. A tourism conference in 2014 made it clear that France was going to take up a high leap in promoting tourism across the length and breadth of the globe.
A new startegy for tourism was undertaken by Mr. Fabius and France has no dearth of options that can attract international tourists. What the government decided upon to focus were its rich historical, cultural and gastronomical abundance. Along with this it formed action plans to serve as international destination for business events, global conferences and seminars and for this it wants to exploit its modern architectural and every other infrastructural developments.
This project was dubbed as ‘Destination France Horizon 2020’ which sets in many ambitious targets like to make around 100 million foreign tourists foot fall in France by 2020 and to raise the generated revenue.
France’s Innovative Approach Towards Foreign Tourists
The country has been pretty seriously undertaking its tourism efforts and one of its sole frontline functionaries is ‘Atout France‘. This is an ambitious, government funded project that provides 100% support to tourists, including giving them information about different destinations, accommodations, restaurants, its fares, tips culture, transport options and associated fares. Not only a service provider to individual tourists but also a robust system of information to other smaller tourist agencies and events organisers, ‘Atout France’ is doing great.
In addition France has deployed diplomatic staffs to help in promoting its tourism in 31 countries. This is a coordinated effort by 33 agencies and is doing well still now. Empowering the tourism industry partners with market research aimed at promoting France before few cultures and its business audience is a credible effort.
Topmost Priority: Make it Easy for your Tourists
According to Mr.Fabius, cordial welcome of international tourists should be a national priority. As a first step they have simplified visa procedures and expanded its international media coverage of French tourism.
However there needs bigger modifications in particular towards some cultural changes like on Sundays shops close down as early as 6 pm. That’s a big showdown for expanding tourism.
Many things like training professionals as well as ordinary people regarding hospitality, setting up a dedicated hotline Ariane-that recommends top-level service providers to tourists- and simplification of VAT reimbursement procedures are on the way.
Implementing Advanced Digital Techniques
World is transforming into a complete digital place and France is fully determined to exploit its resources to expand its tourist industry. Steps taken are an extended tourism promotion portal, making high-speed internet reach a must at its different cities, at its Ile-de-France region starting a paperless city pass and promoting more contracts and joint-ventures between digital professionals and stakeholders at traditional tourism sector.
Training More Tourism Professionals
More and more related professions have been generated with proper training infrastructure. This includes development of foreign language skills, imparting digital and general knowledge. A Research Chair would be established which coordinate efforts between tourism professionals and academics. In future bigger investment funds would be established to further expand tourism in France.
To expand tourism all these efforts are really commendable. We are looking forward towards a French vacation.