PARIS — The government of France has unveiled a one-off support plan to support the country’s tourism industry in the wake of COVID-19.
Following an interministerial meeting on May 14, France’s Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe laid out the plan to major players in the industry, including Atout France’s Christian Mantei, President of the Administration Council, and Caroline Leboucher, Director-General.
The plan concentrates on three key areas: health measures, information and reassurance for travellers; €18 billion to go towards supporting tourism-related businesses, sporting and cultural events in order to “move from emergency to recovery”; and preparing a contract for tourism recovery and transformation.
Atout France, the France Tourism Development Agency, has been enlisted to perform the following tasks as part of this new plan:
- The Agency will work to bring together industry players under one distinctive logo that will encourage everyone to identify and pass on health protocols across all tourism activities. It will also be involved with a national campaign to promote such protocols, which is being rolled out by the government’s Information Service.
- Starting June 2020, Atout France will roll out a communications campaign in partnership with relevant public-sector and local tourism professionals to assist with the recovery of the tourism sector and encourage people to travel to France.
- Financial support for engineering in local areas across France will be significantly increased by the Banque des Territoires and, in particular, capacity building for those involved in Atout France’s ‘France Tourisme Ingénierie’ initiative.
- Atout France will fully commit to supporting digital innovation and transformation in the tourism sector. Along with Welcome City lab, it will send a call for projects to businesses and startups that are willing to suggest solutions that will help build the tourism of tomorrow. An online platform for sharing data on France’s tourism offering will be created to highlight the digital component of the tourism recovery plan.
- Atout France will play an active role in developing roadmaps for different sectors and territories in preparation for the tourism recovery and transformation contract, due in autumn 2020. The first round of feedback is scheduled for July 2020. Atout France will propose a formalization process with local authorities as well as the various regions already involved.
In addition to the tourism plan, Prime Minister Philippe also highlighted several advancements towards the reopening of France’s tourism sector. These include the following:
- The reopening date for cafes and restaurants will be decided in the week commencing May 25. In designated ‘green’ departments, it may be possible to reopen on June 2 if the current state of the pandemic doesn’t worsen.
- French residents will be able to go on holiday in France in July and August. Overseas territories will be included.
- The hotel and tourism industries have committed to promising a full refund to anyone who has cancelled a reservation or had a reservation cancelled for COVID-19-related reasons.
- The government is putting in place a plan designed specifically for social tourism that will allow everyone to go on holidays and business trips. It will be presented in the coming weeks.