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Atout France at the TourInvest Forum 2016: Brands and investsments to accelerate internationalization

At this years edition of TourInvest Forum, representatives from Atout France, Christian Mantei, CEO, and Philippe Maud'hui, Director of Engineering and Development, referred to current trends in terms of consumption and tourism investment, as well as different initiatives implemented to ensure their continuity in the current situation.

Extracts from the presentation by Atout France at TourInvest Forum 2016:

In the introduction, Christian Mantei, CEO Atout France, spoke of the launch of an initial plan to relaunch the sector, involving a series of actions to be taken on more than a dozen markets with high added value. According to him "two notions are particularly important in this period of upset. First of all in terms of Reception: it has become necessary to pay more attention, to adopt new gestures and more efficient services to host tourists. Then at a second stage, Investment: there can't be any recovery or growth perspectives without investment."

While investments slumped in 2016, Christian Mantei nonetheless reminds us that these perspectives remain positive in 2016, despite a tourism environment that is significantly eroded by the economic difficulties being experienced by the destination France. Several pieces of good news make it possible to qualify an observation that looks gloomy: the quantitative development of the hotel sector at the same time as the adoption of the new ranking, the persistence of the dynamism of the Professional meetings and events division, and growth of certain international markets, such as India with its 500,000 visitors (+6%).

Current trends in tourism investment

Philippe Maud'hui, Director of Engineering and Development for Atout France, reminds us that tourism investment is doing well with 12.6 billion euros in 2015. Depuis For a few years we have seen an uptrend, particularly taking into consideration the dynamism of investments regarding hospitality. We are particularly seeing a phenomenon of new growth in number of rooms."

If we break down tourism investment, the current structure makes it possible to emphasize the growing weight of equipment and accommodations, to the detriment of the weight of secondary residences. Compared to previous years, certain sectors succeeded in coming out on top in 2015: growth is particularly significant in holiday villages and amusement parks.

Internationalization of the tourism economy
While tourism internationalization is decidedly on an uptrend, "growth has never happened without spurts," reminds Philippe Maud'hui. "For a few months now we have been rediscovering a strong connection between tourist arrivals and the changes in GDP and currency exchange" - this turbulence must be taken into consideration more than ever in the current context. On the other hand, a structural element should give tourism actors new sources of optimism in the years to come: growth in air traffic. The latter are progressing more rapidly than tourist arrivals, and should even double in the next 15 years.

In addition to this rational aspect, emotional parameters lie at the core of the brand and tourist destination strategy. In France, the are now twenty or so destination contracts. Beyond these contracts that aim to make public and private sector actors collaborate on an important subject, brands (around 150 in France) are trying to establish a more personal relationship with clientele by calling upon the imaginations of potential visitors (Côte d'Azur, Mont St-Michel, Mont-Blanc, Bourgogne, Champagne...). Technological progress strengthens the differentiation being observed today by accelerating the concentration to the benefit of the most evocative - and the best prepared - brands. According to Philippe Maud'hui, "this trend will grow: we are seeing a veritable 'Big Bang' of urbanization. It is a factor of expansion: territories reason through their brands, which also reason from a point of view of appeal."

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