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France’s challenges to remain the “queen of global tourism”

Alain Dupeyras, Manager of the OECD Tourism Committee, offers his analysis

Every year, France attracts tens of millions of international visitors. But its status as a major tourism destination has become vulnerable due to the growing competition of other countries and an intensifying international geopolitical and security context. What major challenges should be addressed in order to remain “the queen of global tourism?” Alain Dupeyras, Manager of the OECD Tourism Committee, provided a few tips at the IFTM-Top Resa 2016.

Rédigé par Pierre Coronas translated by Joséphine Foucher le Jeudi 29 Septembre 2016

France must pursue its efforts to remain the “queen of global tourism” - Photo :
France must pursue its efforts to remain the “queen of global tourism” - Photo :
The title of the conference scheduled at the IFTM-Top Resa Forum on Thursday September 22, 2016 was perplexing: “France: queen of global tourism?”

Is it serious? Ironic? Provocative?

It is obvious that France remains one of the major tourism destinations on a world-scale, more in the number of international arrivals than in revenues.

But in front of the dynamism of some of its competitors, both historical and new, today its status seems largely contested.

While France may still be the queen of global tourism, it must be cautious because many destinations are coveting its throne.

Particularly since “unfortunately, the image of France abroad is mixed. Yet, it has many advantages. So many, that sometimes it doesn’t even realize it,” observed Albena Gadjaneva, new director of the Cannes Tourism Office and mediator of the conference.

Governance and mobility

Alain Dupeyras is the manager of the OECD tourism committee - Photo : Linkedin
Alain Dupeyras is the manager of the OECD tourism committee - Photo : Linkedin
Meaning that in this context and with the current short-term difficulties tied to the economy and issues pertaining to safety, what challenges should France address to remain “the queen of global tourism?”

The challenges in question “are the same as in most developed countries,” warns Alain Dupeyras, Manager of the Tourism Committee of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

He listed 4 major challenges that French incoming tourism must face.

The first concerns the governance of the sector that is “very dispersed.” According to Alain Dupeyras, it is essential to “develop an integrated vision of tourism, especially one that is interdepartmental, which is never simple.”

Specifically, he urges for a long-term strategy that takes into account the new forms of consumerism and distribution. And one where “the private and public both have a large role to play.”

The second challenge for France: mobility. It is necessary to facilitate visa issuance policies and reinforce both national and international intermodal passenger transportation. Since the current trend is that of door-to-door service.

Jobs, training, and innovation

France must also better highlight its jobs and the qualifications of employees in the tourism sector.

On this topic, “the OECD is thoroughly thinking about how to develop careers and the image of jobs. But also about training in tourism,” states the manager of the OECD tourism committee.

This is an essential question because “in general, in tourism, jobs have less added value than in other sectors,” he notes.

As for the 4th challenge, he raised the topic of innovation. But not only technological, “also green innovation with the sustainability of companies for instance, and creativity with cuisine in France, among others,” explains Alain Dupeyras.

He believes that “the government must reinforce its support of innovation.” Tourism needs it to launch new equipments, bring old equipments to the current norms and improve the quality of its services.

“Unfortunately, on this point, tourism is not often considered like a sector of the future,” laments the OECD manager.

The presidential election, with the take-off of its campaign, may be the opportunity to shake things up.

Les défis de la France pour rester la "reine du tourisme mondial"

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