French hoteliers appeal to presidential candidates
Paris – 02 February 2017 –
French hoteliers have urged presidential candidates to focus on tourism, a sector which they said can create jobs and boost economic growth in the next five years, Reuters reported.
“Tourism is at this stage absent from the speeches and the commitments of the candidates,” Roland Heguy, the head of hotel industry federation UMIH, told a news conference.
“We are tired of reminding you that tourism is a national treasure and a growth and employment booster. Seize this opportunity to make a commitment on tourism!”
France, which is looking to boost its weak economic growth, depends heavily on tourism, which generates 7.4 percent of national gross domestic product and employs 2 million people.
It is still the most-visited country in the world, with almost 85 million foreigners, though French hoteliers have faced tough times as foreign tourists stayed away from Paris and the Riviera last year after Islamist militant attacks.
Traditional hoteliers also face multiple challenges ranging from competition from online travel agents such as Expedia and Booking.com, to the growing popularity of home sharing website Airbnb.
The UMIH federation said its key aim was to boost by one percentage point the contribution of tourism to French GDP within five years, which would generate 21 billion euros (US$23 billion) in extra revenue and create 200,000 additional jobs.
This could be achieved if the state spent 100 million euros per year to promote France as a tourist destination in order to reach its goal of 100 million foreign tourists by 2020, it said.
Other proposals included making more of apprenticeships, cutting red tape and insuring recently tightened rules on online travel agents and online short-term home rentals were respected.