France - Country Commercial Guide
Travel and Tourism (TRA)

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2021-10-12

Overview

 

2018

 

2019

 

2020

 

2021

(Estimated)

Number of French travelers in the U.S.

1.80 million

1.84 million

0.298 million

0.045 million

French spending in the U.S.

$6.35 billion

$6.46 billion

$1.4 billion

n/a

Exchange Rate 1 Euro

USD 1.18

USD1.12

USD1.14

USD1. 20


Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, National: Travel & Tourism Office(* Estimated figures)

The United States remains one of the top choices among long-haul destinations for French travelers. In 2020, France ranked second among European markets after the United Kingdom, and ninth in the world after Canada, Mexico, Canada, U.K., Japan, China, South Korea, Brazil, India, as an overseas source of income for the tourism industry in the U. S.  In 2019, the U.S. recorded 1.84 Million French travelers, an increase of 4%.  From 2001 to 2019, the French visitation doubled.  The industry has been devastated over the past 17 months, being among the hardest hit by Covid 19 and the associated quarantines and travel restrictions.  Since October 2020, there is a travel ban to the Schengen  Area 9which include France).  French travelers are not allowed to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business purpose.

Best Prospects

The United States is a popular destination for the French travelers, ranked number one among long-distance destinations.  California, the U.S. National Parks, New York and Florida remain the favorite destinations.  Other regions such as the Southwest, Rocky Mountain states and the Deep South (Louisiana, Mississippi, tennessee)  are becoming popular, particularly with second or third-time visitors. The French are highly fond of culture and history. Many French travelers choose cities renowned for their artwork or museums (New York, Washington D.C., Boston, Chicago). Additionally, images expansive landscapes and wide open spaces, as made popular by classic American TV shows and movies remain vivid in the French imagination, which explains why Western states such as Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico are popular in France.

With Covid-19, French tourists will prefer off-the-beaten-track destinations and outdoor activities. They might discover new National Parks & Reserves, Landmarks, and some states known for their natural beauties like Oregon, Washington State and Alaska.   

Opportunities

The French have five weeks of paid vacation per year. The average length of stay in the United States is approximately two weeks.  The French are very individualistic in their travel behavior, which explains why 70% percent choose “Fly and Drive” options. Nevertheless, some travelers, mainly retired people, prefer organized trips.

Seven carriers offer non-stop flights from France to the United States (10 before the pandemic).  The U.S. carriers are American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United. The French carriers are Air France, Air Tahiti Nui, French Bee, Corsair and La Compagnie

The impact of Covid 19

In May 2020, the Visit USA France conducted a survey among its B2B database (based on 766 respondents) to measure the impact of the pandemic in their desire to travel to the U.S. Here is the result:

  • The French still have a strong desire to travel to the U.S.  (and this remains active in July 2021), 90% of the respondents are willing to travel again the U.S. once the pandemic crisis is over.
  • The French travelers are targeting the West & National Parks for their future trip (40.7%), followed by the East (29.1%) and the South (17.8%).
  • One of the consequences of the pandemic crisis is that French travelers seem ready to make greater use of the services of tourism professionals in the future. 
  • In July 2021, the airlines are using 25% of their capacity.  Seven airlines are offering nonstop flights from France to the U.S. instead of ten airlines before the pandemic.

The Visit USA Committee France

Following the closing of the United States Travel and Tourism Administration (USTTA) in 1996, the U.S. Commercial Service has supported the establishment of the Visit USA Committee, a private industry association aimed at promoting the United States as a travel and tourism destination.  The U.S. Commercial Service in Paris actively supports the Visit USA Committee in France. The Visit USA Committee, with 130 members (170 before the pandemic), is one of the biggest Visit USA in the world.

The Visit USA Committee organizes a wide range of promotional actions: travel trade fairs, workshops, e-learning programs for travel agents, the Visit USA Media Awards ceremony, video clips, and monthly newsletters dedicated to the trade, press, and consumers. Most of their actions were virtual in 2020 and 2021. They have a dynamic website, and they are in all the major social media networks, including Facebook, twitter, and Instagram.

- Contact for information and registration: Delphine Aubert, Communication & Marketing Manager, d.aubert@office-tourisme-usa.com

- Facebook:  Visit-USA-Committee-France

- Twitter: @OTdesUSA, https://twitter.com/parisotc?lang=en

- Instagram : Office du Tourisme des USA

Trade Fair

Major travel trade fair: IFTM (International French Travel Market)

Location : Paris – Expo Porte de Versailles

Number of visitors: 40,000

Show Organizer: Reed Exhibitions France - brandusapavilion

B-For will organize a USA pavilion at IFTM 2021 with the collaboration of the Visit USA Committee and the U.S. Commercial Service at the American Embassy Paris. The USA pavilion will host 10+ U.S. exhibitors (30+ before the pandemic).

For Registration: B-For / Exhibitpro, partner of Brand USA

Contact: Michael Walsh, mwalsh@exhibitpro.com

Workshops

The Visit USA Committee will organize 4 workshops for travel agencies in 2021, with the collaboration of the U.S. Commercial Service, and APPs.

Lyon (TBC)

Paris (TBC)

Lille (TBC)  

Nice (TBC) 

Resources

Contact

U.S. Embassy France – U.S. Commercial Service

Commercial Specialist: Valérie Ferrière

Tel: +33(0) 1 43 12 70 77, Valerie.Ferriere@trade.gov