Foreign tourists welcome to France, says Minister

Tourism – Recovery of the tourism sector in the run-up to the summer season – Reply by M. Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a question in the National Assembly (excerpt)

Paris, 9 June 2020

Tourism in France has indeed been hit very hard by the epidemic crisis. Let people be the judge of it: one month of lockdown means €10 to €15 billion less in income for the sector. That’s why the President has pinpointed tourism as a national priority. Far from being a mere slogan, this priority is being reflected in strong action and concrete measures. For example, on 14 May an €18-billion plan was announced at the cross-ministerial tourism committee: €9 billion in direct assistance – maintaining partial activity, extending the solidarity fund – and €9 billion in finance and investment to prepare the tourism of tomorrow, a more sustainable and more digital tourism.

Regarding the summer season, we’re working flat out with the various parts of France, in particular the regions. The reason I’ve launched an appeal for a “blue, white and red” summer is precisely to encourage French people to rediscover our land. You can go round the world by touring France; that’s what is tremendous in our country! Along with Atout France, we’ve launched the campaign “This summer I’m visiting France”.

As for supporting demand, several regions are working on holiday-voucher schemes. You mentioned the initiative by the Occitanie region, but the regions of Nouvelle-Aquitaine – we’re currently working with its president, Alain Rousset –, Grand-Est and Sud are also considering measures to support the tourism sector. I’m confident that within a few days I’ll be able to announce a State support mechanism that will enable us to add even more breadth to the various initiatives by the regions.

As far as foreign tourists are concerned, I say to them: welcome to France! The issue of borders is clear: we’d like to remove obstacles to movement around Europe from 15 June onwards and welcome international customers to our country at the beginning of July. However, we know the recovery will be very gradual. So it’s right to support tourism professionals longer-term, until the end of the year. That’s the whole purpose of the measures we’ve taken – maintaining partial activity and extending the solidarity fund –, which will allow us to provide a view of the way ahead over time.

Regarding transport, French people are currently being offered promotional fares, particularly by the SNCF. Let me also remind you that the annual holiday ticket paid in holiday vouchers allows people to enjoy a 50% reduction on the usual fare. Other, ad-hoc arrangements/measures have also been put in place, including tickets for under €49.

On motorways, allow me to finish with Didier Barbelivien and this hit from the 1980s: Quitter l’autoroute [Leave the motorway]! It’s time to get back to our good A and B roads to rediscover France’s gems. (…)./.

Published on 11/06/2020

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