In 2019, before the pandemic struck, France’s Travel & Tourism sector contributed almost €211 billion to its economy (8.5% of the country’s economy).
However, in 2020, the pandemic had a major impact on the sector, and Travel & Tourism’s contribution to France’s economy was almost halved by a staggering 48.8%, to nearly €108 billion (4.7% of the total economy).
Latest research from the global tourism body shows that if France, with more than three quarters of its population already fully vaccinated, continues to ease restrictions throughout the year, the sector’s contribution to the economy could reach €182 billion in 2022, just 13.5% behind pre-pandemic levels.
In terms of employment, the outlook could be even more positive. After the loss of thousands of jobs in 2020, when Travel & Tourism businesses in France suffered serious losses due to severe travel restrictions and complete border closures, the sector could recover the jobs lost during 2020 to reach nearly 2.8 million employed in the sector this year – 2.3% above 2019 levels.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “It’s fantastic to see such a strong recovery for a country that has prioritised its Travel & Tourism sector. Our latest research shows just how crucial the recovery of France’s Travel & Tourism sector is to reboot the national economy.
“Millions of livelihoods depend on a booming Travel & Tourism sector, and thanks to the support of the French government, the sector could soon achieve a full economic recovery and bring back all the jobs lost during the pandemic.”
WTTC’s research shows the forecast for Europe could be equally positive, with the region’s Travel & Tourism sector also approaching pre-pandemic levels this year.
According to the research, the sector’s contribution to the region’s economy could reach nearly €1.7 trillion, only 12% below pre-pandemic levels, while employment could reach more than 38 million jobs, just 0.4% behind 2019 figures.
To reach close to pre-pandemic levels this year, WTTC says the French government and governments across the continent must continue focussing on the vaccine and booster rollout - allowing fully vaccinated travellers to move freely without the need for testing.
The global tourism body also urges governments to ditch the patchwork of restrictions and enable international travel using digital solutions, such as the EU Digital COVID Certificate, that allow travellers to prove their status in a fast, simple, and secure way.