France leads tourism recovery in Europe

TD Editor

New research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) reveals France’s travel and tourism sector’s recovery could achieve a growth of 34.9% this year. At the recently organised Destination France Summit, WTTC said the sector’s growth this year is set to soar ahead of Europe’s overall recovery at 23.9% and the global recovery at 30.7%. In 2019, the country’s travel and tourism sector’s contribution to GDP represented EUR 211 billion (8.5% of the national economy). In 2020, when the pandemic brought international travel to a grinding halt, the contribution of the travel and tourism sector fell to just EUR 108 billion (4.7% of the national economy).

However, according to the latest research, at the current rate of recovery, the sector can expect a year on year growth of almost 35%, representing an increase of EUR 38 billion. The data also reveals that the country could see a year on year increase of 21.8% in 2022, contributing a further boost to the economy of EUR 32 billion.

The global tourism body says that whilst a rise in domestic travel has provided some relief to the nation, it is not enough to achieve the full recovery needed to salvage its economy and the millions of jobs lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The research goes on to show that while domestic spending is set to increase by 56.6% year on year in 2021, international spending could decrease 1.9% this year.

However, while domestic spending is set to rise once again, with a year on year growth of 9.9%, international spending is expected to rebound 67.8% next year, in turn providing a massive boost to both jobs and employment. In terms of employment, the French tourism sector supported almost 2.7 million jobs before the pandemic struck.

After suffering a loss of almost 200,000 jobs last year, the research shows that employment is set to remain stagnant in 2021. However, again the outlook is more positive next year with an expected rise of 9.4%, providing an additional 236,000 jobs across the country.

WTTC President & CEO, Julia Simpson said: “Our latest research shows that France’s travel sector is beginning to recover faster than its neighbours although there is still a long way to go. Last year the pandemic saw hundreds of thousands of jobs lost in France. This year employment remains flat, but we expect to see a big uptick in Travel & Tourism in France next year as long as the country remains open to vaccinated travellers.”
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