France leads tourism recovery in Europe

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), has revealed that France's tourism and travel sector could see a 34.9% increase in growth this year. WTTC stated that the sector's growth in 2019 will surpass Europe's overall recovery of 23.9% and global recovery of 30.7% at the recent Destination France Summit. The country's contribution to the GDP was EUR 211 billion in 2019, or 8.5%. The contribution of the tourism and travel sector to GDP fell to EUR 108 billion in 2020 after the pandemic that brought down international travel to a halt.
According to recent research, the sector could see a year-on-year growth rate of just 35% at the current pace of recovery. This would amount to an increase of EUR 38 million. Data also shows that there could be a 21.8% increase in the country's year-on-year growth rate by 2022, which would provide an additional boost of EUR 32 billion to the economy.

According to the global tourism body, while domestic travel has helped some, it is not sufficient to recover the country's economy and millions of jobs that were lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. Research shows that domestic spending will increase by 56.6% in 2021, but international spending could fall 1.9%.

Domestic spending is forecast to increase with a 9.9% year-on-year growth, but international spending will rebound at 67.8% next, which is expected to provide a huge boost to employment and jobs. The French tourism industry supported nearly 2.7 million jobs prior to the pandemic.

Research shows that 2021 will see stagnant employment after the country lost almost 200,000 jobs last fiscal year. The outlook for next year is brighter with an expected increase of 9.4% and an additional 236,000 jobs.

Julia Simpson, President and CEO of WTTC, stated that "our latest research shows France's tourism sector is starting to recover faster than its neighboring countries although we still have a lot to do." Last year, the pandemic resulted in hundreds of thousands of French jobs being lost. Employment is flat this year, but we expect a significant uptake in Travel & Tourism next year in France as long as there are still open travel opportunities for vaccinated travelers.