Amid the ongoing pandemic that has pushed most world countries to close their borders, among which France as well, the latter may suffer the loss of €48 billion by the end of the year, due to the absence of tourists and other travellers.
According to a report published by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the lack of international tourists in France due to COVID-19 pandemic could be associated with a drop in international spending by 82 per cent. This loss is equal to €131.2 million a day, or €918 million a week.
WTTS’s assessment has been published shortly after the UK decided to remove France from its list of free-quarantine countries, obliging the British citizens who return from France to self-isolate for 14 days after their arrival to the United Kingdom.
Recently, France also announced that it is considering imposing quarantine restrictions to travellers from the UK. These measures can affect the economies of both countries, as the UK is also expected to lose £22 billion due to lack of tourists amid COVID-19.
As a result of COVID-19 outbreak, leading to the lack of tourists and travellers, other European countries have also been affected, among them Germany as well. The latter is set to lose €38 billion.
According to WTTC predictions, over two million jobs in France supported by the Travel and Tourism industry are put at risk, while across Europe, the number could reach 29 million jobs of the same industry.
As the WTTC’S 2020 Economic Impact Report highlights, a year ago the Travel and Tourism sector was responsible for the creation of 2.7 million jobs, or 9.4 per cent of the country’s total workforce. At the same time, travel and tourism also produced more than €205 billion GDP or 8.5 per cent to the economy of France.
Regarding this issue, WTTC and its members urged President Emmanuel Macron and other leaders of G7 countries to achieve a coordinated approach that could be helpful in responding to the financial crisis.
Meanwhile, WTTC President and CEO, Gloria Guevara said that the lack of international tourists in France could lead to loss of €131.2 million a day from the French economy and it can take years to recover. As a consequence, Paris’s position in business and leisure travel could also be affected.
“We urgently need to replace the ever-changing quarantine measures with rapid, comprehensive and cost-effective test and trace programmes at departure points across the country. This investment will be significantly less than the impact of blunt quarantines which have devastating and far-reaching socio-economic consequences. Targeted test and tracing will also rebuild consumer confidence to travel. It will enable the restoration of vital ‘air corridors’ between countries and regions with similar COVID-19 case rates”, President Guevara emphasized.
President Guevara also suggested to re-establish the transatlantic travel as it could strengthen the travel and tourism sector, would be beneficial to airlines and hotels, travel agents and tour operators, as well as regenerate millions of jobs dependent on the international travel.
“A quick turnaround test and trace system in place for all departing passengers means the government could consider reinstating travel between France and major international hubs such as London, New York, Dubai and others. Restoring business class travel between the world’s top financial centers, would act as an engine to help kick-start the economic global recovery.”, she added.
According to WTTC analysis, in 2019, the French economy accounted for €58.6 billion or 34 per cent of the total travel spending in Germany, while the remaining 66 per cent was covered by the internal tourism spending. Meanwhile, the 2019 data shows that France each month accounted for €4.9 billion in total, €160 million a day, or €1.1 billion a week.
Travellers from the UK and Germany were the main source of incomes in France during 2016 and 2018, each generating 14 per cent of international arrivals, followed by Belgium with 12 per cent, Italy and France with 8 per cent each one.
Moreover, 2018 data has shown that 74 per cent is the total tourism spending in France’s capital Paris, while the inside tourists make up the other 26 per cent. Regarding the source of incomes in Paris, the US is ranked first with 19 per cent of tourists, followed by the UK with 9 per cent.
French Junior Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne also talked about the loss of incomes that France is experiencing due to imposed measures across Europe as a way to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
In an interview with Le Journal Du Dimanche, Minister Lemoyne said: “In normal circumstances, tourism generates €180 billion, €60 billion of which comes from international tourism. The immediate impact of the epidemic is [losses of] at least €30-40 billion.”
According to Lemoyne, by the end of the year, many tourism operators in France could lose 20-25 per cent of their incomes, as French citizens are not preferring to travel abroad this summer.
Lately, after the increase in the number of Coronavirus infections, Denmark has put France and Croatia in the list of high-risk territories.