France at a glance

 

Outlook is bright for one of Europe’s big 3 economies.

More than US$61 billion (€53 billion) was spent by businesses on travel to, from and within France in 2017, according to BCD analysis of Tourism Economics data. The breakdown: Domestic trips made up 45%, outbound international trips accounted for 40% and the rest came from inbound international travelers. Overall, business travel spending increased just 1%, on average, in 2015 and 2016 and was flat in 2017. Spending on domestic travel fell 4% last year. The outlook is brighter. Industry economists predict overall growth of 5% to 6% per year and domestic growth of 3% per year, on average, through 2022.

Economic environment

Economic growth and business travel spending

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  • France was the world’s fifth-largest economy in 2017 with gross domestic product estimated at US$2.57 trillion—slightly ahead of the U.K. and India in the International Monetary Fund’s global rankings.
  • Economic expansion increased from 0.2% in 2012 to 1.1% in 2016, and the country is expected to show growth of 1.8% in 2017.
  • Low and stable inflation and an improving labor market have increased income and given consumers confidence to boost spending.
  • Companies buoyed by strengthening demand and a better business environment are increasing investment.
  • The French government is spending more on infrastructure, which Oxford Economics predicts will help the economy grow about 2% this year.

Air

International travel

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  • Since 2012, international travel has increased an average of just 1.4% annually; but as arrivals pick up, growth should top 4% per year through 2022.
  • Arrivals accounted for 80% of the 257 million international journeys made in 2017. Most arrivals come from the U.K. (15% in 2017), followed by Germany (14%) and Belgium (11%).
  • Air France-KLM enjoys a strong position in the French market, combining mainline carrier Air France, regional airline Hop! and low-cost carrier Transavia. But it faces a growing threat from EasyJet, and other low-cost carriers, such as Volotea, are expanding in France, too.
  • To win back customers and increase connections over Paris, Air France has launched Joon, a full-service airline with lower operating costs.

Accommodation

Hotel demand

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  • Hotel demand increased just 1.5% per year between 2012 and 2017, with terrorist attacks adding to sluggish growth. But it’s on target to rise more than 3% per year through 2022.
  • The three largest hotel chains serving France are all based in the country. AccorHotels, with almost 1,600 properties, has twice as many hotels as second-place Louvre Hotels Group. The third-largest chain, SEH United Hoteliers Group, brings together more than 400 independent hotels under the P’tit Dej, Inter Hotels, Qualys and Relais du Silence brands.
  • France’s hotels suffered a sharp drop in rates following the Nice terrorist attack in 2016. Rates have only recently started to improve. Business travel consultancy Advito forecasts rates to shift 0% to 2% in 2018.