#ExploreFrance and ‘What Really Matters’! France is encouraging European tourists to rediscover the destination


Atout France, the 13 regional tourist boards and agencies, and private partners are all involved in a new tourism push for destination France

For the first time, Atout France and the 13 regional tourist boards, ‘Attractivité agencies and tourism agencies across mainland France plus various other businesses in the sector have come together to launch the ‘#ExploreFrance What Really Matters’ campaign across 10 European target markets.

The aim of the campaign is to encourage European tourists to come to France and rediscover What Really Matters!

For over a year now, the health measures put in place to contain the Covid-19 pandemic affecting the whole world have had a huge impact on the global economy, with tourism one of the most affected industries. According to WTO, international arrivals in  France (both business and leisure) fell by 74% last year compared to 2019; in other words, a decline of 1 billion arrivals.  

According to the Banque de France, revenues from international tourism have fallen by little more than 50% in 2020 compared to 2019.

However, thanks to an improvement in the current health situation and the acceleration of vaccination programmes across Europe, the French State is now able to relax the restrictions on people from abroad entering France.

As of 3 May 2021, tourists travelling from the European Union are once again able to enter France, provided they can provide a negative PCR test. This is a positive sign that tourism activity will gradually be able to resume. It is for this reason that Atout France and the 13 regional tourist boards, ‘Attractivité’ agencies and tourism agencies across mainland France plus other businesses in the sector have come together to develop a new joint strategy for winning back European visitors.

Together, in what is today a highly competitive industry, they are getting ready to launch a marketing campaign that is unprecedented in its approach.

This united effort aims to position France as the ideal destination for European tourists who, prior to the pandemic, represented over 75% of international visitors and are forecast to represent over 85% in 2021.

#ExploreFrance What really matters

Under the umbrella hashtag #ExploreFrance, this relaunch campaign will encourage tourists from 10 European target markets to come to France and rediscover What Really Matters.

It will also highlight everything that destination France has to offer, satisfying visitors’ travel aspirations and meeting their need to recharge their batteries and get back to basics.

In particular, the campaign will showcase slow tourismthe great outdoors, culture and heritage, and lifestyle. The common theme running throughout the campaign will be more sustainable tourism, an important issue for Atout France and the 13 regional tourist boards, ‘Attractivité’ agencies and tourism agencies in mainland France.

Atout France and its partners aim to:

  • REASSURE European tourists over health measures put in place by the tourism industry; 
  • INFORM them of the tourist attractions that are open and possible to visit;
  • INSPIRE them by suggesting new destinations and experiences based on their travel aspirations.

In addition to the activities with the media and other European tourism professionals to reassure and inform the public in relation to health measures, commercial flexibility measures and everything France has to offer, this campaign will inspire European tourists with ideas for new destinations and experiences, and encourage people to book their next holiday in France.

“International travellers are the beating heart of the French tourism industry. We have missed our foreign friends and we can’t wait to see them again, just as they can’t wait to get back to the destinations that really matter to them! We need to consolidate our position as the number tourist destination worldwide, and France has everything it needs to do just that. That’s what the #ExploreFrance What Really Matters campaign that we’re launching in 10 European markets is all about.”

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State for Tourism, French Nationals Abroad and Francophonie

Planned for summer and autumn, the campaign will be rolled out gradually with a certain amount of flexibility to allow for any changes in the current health situation in France and in other European markets, as well as possible future restrictions on travel from other European markets to France.

The campaign, launching in May, will vary from market to market based on whether travel can resume both to and from the countries in question: UK, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden and Austria.

Primarily a digital marketing campaign, its primary target audiences will be families, millennials and DINKs (couples without children).

Thanks to everyone’s joint involvement, this campaign has benefited from a wider pool of human resources and draw on multiple financial sources.

A total of €10 million will be invested in 2021 by the French State (via Atout France), as well as by the regional tourist boards, ‘Attractivité agencies and tourism agencies across mainland France, and other businesses in the sector.

Atout France UK & Ireland press contact

Anne Pedersen – anne.pedersen@atout-france.fr

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