"We also have much to learn from your work. After SWOT analysis, let's keep the M&Ms concept.
France is a very beautiful brand that needs a little dusting, we have men who for half of the government are from civil society and a strategy. So I think we are responding well to the M&Ms leitmotif.
The sector is an inspiration to me. At this 23rd Global Lodging Forum, we are not far from reaching the peak. I would like to open this event and wish you the best for these two days. In rural areas there are many challenges for the independent hotel industry which must find new models. The outdoor lodgings industry has also decided to reinvent itself.
Although France remains the world's leading tourist destination with 89 million visitors in 2017 and 2018 off to a good start, with airport arrivals up by more than 7.5% in January-February. Our foundations are good, but we must not rest on our laurels. We are in a very competitive environment. Some neighboring destinations are working twice as hard, so we have to meet customer expectations.
We must not be afraid of disruption; we want to do things differently to steer the big ship France. For a number of years the state had withdrawn from certain structures. The Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations have left some boards of directors, however, the government wishes to pursue a strong mission alongside tourism professionals. If the State is not present in the capital of this or that institution, it must be present to facilitate financing and investment, for example.
Every 6 months, Edouard Philippe brings together the 12 ministers concerned by tourism. Last January, 500 million euros were allocated to the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations to strengthen investments, the hotel loan was reinforced and the capital of France Investissement Tourisme was doubled to 200 million euros. We are therefore present differently and believe that if the private sphere can have a better outlook, the State could offer tools to carry out current transformations. We still have room for further reinvention. Tomorrow's hotel will be much more than a place to sleep, it is already much more than that.
Beyond investments, there is the issue of promotion and communication, until now we have been slow to accompany the actions of professionals. In terms of branding, professionals invest a lot. The State wants to gradually move towards investing 1 euro per tourist and reach 100 million euros by 2020. Atout France will always have wider base as well as partnerships to lead joint campaigns, for example.
Human resources are very important. We are going to resuscitate a conference of tourism professionals to put all the training around the table in order to ensure that the education provided to new generations makes them a qualified workforce that projects itself in this activity.
It is very clear, especially in a global industry, that France has a very positive image abroad. People look at France and say "that's where it's happening". Creativity is part of France's DNA, which is what makes us leaders in certain fields, notably luxury.
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