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France Market Profile

France maintains a robust, growing propensity for travel, buoyed by an increase in low-cost direct flights to California. While safety concerns have affected the market, California is still a highly desired destination in the global landscape for French travelers. In three years, France is projected to be responsible for $1 billion in visitor spending in California.


  • The recurrence of domestic terror attacks cause travelers to value safe destinations, and California is viewed as such
  • Visitor access is slightly more restricted due to changes to the Visa Waiver Program

  • Increased number of low-cost carriers such as Norwegian enable more direct flights from Paris to Los Angeles
  • Geopolitical forces and evolving political trends remain factors to watch

France Profile

In-Person Trips, 2017
$865 Million
Visitor Spending, 2017

Market Conditions

GDP Annual Growth Rate

  • The International Monetary Fund puts the French economy as the sixth largest in the world. According to DGE (official government statistics), tourism represented 7.3 percebt of GDP in 2016. The share of “services for Tour Operator or Travel Agencies” remains stable at around €7.6 billion in a total share of €158.6 billion. In the wake of the 2017 elections in France, economic growth has strengthened across the euro area, enabling the European Central Bank to begin thinking about winding down its quantitative easing program. These themes are expected to continue largely undisturbed during 2018.
  • The ECB will remain a key driver of the euro in 2018, with the winding down of its stimulus program likely to occur in two distinct stages, the latter of which will have a sizeable impact on the euro in the year ahead. The OECD has raised its 2017 growth forecast for France by a chunky 0.4 percentage points, to 1.7 percent. French GDP growth has also shifted up a gear according to Barclays economists. They predict the French economy to grow at an above-consensus 1.9 percent in 2018.

Exchange Rate

  • 1 Euro Equals 1.20 U.S. Dollar
  • The euro/U.S. dollar exchange rate has gained close to 13 percent in 2017 which partly reflects earlier weakness in the United States, but also underlines the scale of the shift in fortunes the currency bloc has undergone in the year to date.

Travel & Planning Methodologies


  • 32 weekly nonstop flights
  • 10,771 weekly nonstop seats
  • These nonstop flights are flying into three California gateways— LA SFO and OAK.
  • Flight availability has continued to grow out of the French market with new low cost carries, such as French Blue, XL Airways and Norwegian, creating a competitive landscape.


  • Planning timeframe: November–March
  • Booking timeframe: December/June
  • Channels have shifted slightly away from online travel agencies and back toward travel agencies.
  • Travel agents are keen to build their own itineraries with their SBT (self booking tools) or directly with the receptive agencies.
  • There has been an increase of consumer-to-consumer bookings through Airbnb, and an increase in use of booking platforms linking consumers directly with DMCs (e.g. Evanoes and
  • More than 85 tour operators now package California products.
  • 36 percent travel as couples and 28 percent travel as a family group.
  • 37 percent plan three to six months in advance of travel.
  • New escorted tours dedicated solely to California have been created.

Market Barriers & Risk Factors

Competitive Landscape

Other Market Insights


  • The average French visitor benefits from a good level of education, social health services, a dynamic demography, a high level of paid vacation, advantageous social security benefits, a strong economy and a vibrant culture. France is the largest Western European country and ranks number two in size of population at 67 million.
  • The increase of low-cost carriers to California opens up the destination for new Millenial consumers.


  • With its lifestyle, inventive industries and start-ups, cultural heritage and traditional “savoir-faire” for luxury, wine, gastronomy and more, France is one of the most desirable countries in the world. As a consequence, French visitors seek similar lifestyle experiences when they travel.
  • California is perceived as:
    • Safe and secure
    • Accessible year-round with legacy and low-cost carriers
    • Having vibrant cities that offer a large choice of culture and entertainment
    • Having abundant wildlife, nature and great outdoors
    • Having a cultivated wine and food scene
    • Welcoming
    • A year-round destination


  • California attracts every segment of consumer willing to discover a long-haul destination, from Millennials to families, senior and affluent visitors.



  • IMF
  • Direction générale des entreprises (DGE)
  • ECB
  • OECD
  • DIIO
  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Tourism Economics
  • CIC Research, Inc.