France has been plagued by terrorist attacks over 2015-2016, in Paris and Nice, two of its most attractive touristic cities. Tourism is central to the French economy. It accounts for 7 percent of France’s GDP, with 83 million visitors a year spending about $38.3 billion. Following November 2015’s attacks, luxury tourism has faced the steeper decline of all sectors. Many affluent travelers canceled their trips, leaving luxury hotels half-empty. A survey by Travel Leaders Group indicates that France competes with nations that have long standing times of peace like New Zealand, Canada and Japan. For first time since 2011, Paris is not among the top 10 destinations chosen by affluent travelers.
Travelers’ behavior has changed; increasingly, they report waiting until last minute to book a hotel or delay their travel plans. According to three speakers at the roundtable, the French service sector is on its way to undertake profound changes. Hotels and restaurants are more responsive and adaptable than in the past. They work on providing compelling experiences, grounded in French culture and patrimony. Security is in the background. Influencers showing solidarity with Paris and Nice help revitalize the sector. Among the organizations partaking in the solidarity alliance, Galeries Lafayette broadcasts, on social media and in physical stores, a promotional film on Paris, capturing the emotions yielded by the city.
Thank you to the speakers on October 27th : Jérôme Oddo (Groupe Lucien Barrière), Renaud Scalliet (Best Western Opera Liège Hotel) and Clément Duchatelard (Disney).