Atout France, the 13 regional tourist boards and various tourism agencies are joining forces to promote France
Building on the success of the 2021 campaign, Atout France and the 13 regional tourist boards are continuing their collaboration in 2022 to win back the European markets and boost the return of tourists! Many tourism industry companies will unite with them to amplify the impact of the #ExploreFrance 2022 campaign and position France as the ideal destination to travel again, notably by taking advantage of more sustainable tourism.
In a tense international context and with the health situation still fragile, French tourism professionals want to revive the activity that has been severely impacted by the pandemic for the last two years.
Although France has generally held up better than some of its competitors, the health and economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on international travel. However, the year 2021 saw an increase in France’s market share in terms of tourist revenue, compared with other EU countries. This share, which had been around 15% on average each year for the previous five years, rose to 18.1% at the end of the third quarter of 2021, with France becoming the leading European destination in terms of international revenue during the pandemic.
European visitors were naturally the first to return to France in 2021, within the international visitor base, and this return was confirmed month after month. Spending in the seven main European markets studied by Banque de France was up 24% between 2020 and 2021. European tourists were happy to discover or rediscover France and its lifestyle, culture and diverse landscapes, as well as new initiatives in line with the growing desire for sustainable tourism.
> #ExploreFrance – European tourists invited to discover the fundamentals of the French destination
In the context of ultra-competitive recovery, influenced by geo-political and health-related events, it is important to remain present in the minds of travellers by conveying a welcoming and reassuring image of France as a destination. This is why Atout France, the 13 regional tourist boards and numerous tourism industry companies have joined forces on a new campaign to win back European travellers.
The need for sharing and socialising, rejuvenation, and getting back to basics following the crisis will be the central communication theme of the #ExploreFrance 2022 campaign.
This theme will be enhanced by innovative ‘slow tourism’ holiday experiences, focusing on the French art of living and connecting, and the discovery of natural areas, culture and heritage. Sustainable tourism initiatives will be highlighted to an even greater extent than in 2021.
The campaign, which launches in early April, will target 10 local markets: Germany, Belgium, the UK, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Sweden and Austria. Visitors from these 10 markets alone accounted for around 42 million arrivals in 2021, led by Germany, Belgium and the UK.
> Campaign structure
Aimed at the general public, the campaign will be rolled out in three stages:
- 1. The first part will take the form of an image-led campaign aimed at providing overall visibility for the French destination. It will inspire tourists by suggesting new places to stay and experiences in line with their aspirations. This first phase will be launched in early April.
- 2. Stage two will enable the regional tourist boards and tourism agencies that wish to do so to capitalise on stage one with additional communication, specifically promoting their destination on the identified markets. This year, this approach will be open to sub-regional organisations that will join and accompany this dynamic.
- 3. Carried out in partnership with private partners including transport and distribution companies, stage three will aim to encourage holiday bookings by promoting packages (e.g. flight + accommodation, or similar combinations). In 2021, over 30 companies were involved in the initiative and are expected to sign up again this year, joined by new partners such as Accor, öBB, Expédia, Thalys, Tripadvisor, Viajes El Corte Ingles, Brittany Ferries and many others. In particular, the campaign will benefit this year from the support of Tripadvisor, which will invest heavily by proposing a specific France feature on its website as well as a dedicated media plan, in accordance with the letter of intent signed with Atout France at the Destination France summit last November. Similarly, Expedia will step up its investment alongside Atout France and its partners.
Priority will be given to digital media in these three areas. Media buying and influencer marketing on social networks will be implemented by Atout France teams in the 10 targeted markets.
In addition, Atout France’s teams will be carrying out a major awareness-raising campaign for distributors (tour operators and travel agencies) and the media in their respective markets. For example, as in the past year, press events will be organised during European Sustainable Development Week to promote France’s sustainable tourism initiatives on the 10 markets.
Around 50 press events and 13 influencer trips to the partner regions will help to further enhance the positioning of France as a sustainable destination.
With a sequencing of spring/summer and then late season/autumn, the campaign will remain flexible and adapt its rollout according to the health situation in France and on the international markets.
The collective drive for this co-constructed relaunch campaign allows for the pooling of human and financial resources. 10 million euros is set to be co-invested by the State (via Atout France); the regions via the regional tourist boards, tourism agencies and their sub-regional partners; as well as by tourism industry companies.
Atout France will commit part of the funds entrusted to it within the framework of the ‘Destination France’ plan to strengthen the communication and promotion of France as a destination for tourists and investors alike.
What’s new in the 2022 campaign? In summary:
- A greater focus on sustainable tourism.
- A greater focus on the fundamental features of France, in particular its lifestyle.
- Even more holiday offers with more private partners, in particular online travel agencies.
> Joining forces for the ‘Destination France’ plan
Given the increased competition between destinations following the pandemic, the tourism industry’s collective commitment will be key to the effectiveness of the relaunch of destination France. In addition to the #ExploreFrance 2022 campaign, Atout France is working with its partners on various projects aimed at strengthening the country’s competitiveness. This is especially the case in the context of the Destination France plan, in terms of observation, engineering, innovation and a transition to more sustainable tourism.
The collaborative work currently being carried out in these different fields by Atout France and its partners will be an essential competitive advantage in winning back our visitors, transforming the sector towards sustainable tourism and increasing the competitiveness and attractiveness of France.