After a visit to Blois, Prime Minister Jean Castex will be present in Amboise on November 20 to detail the government’s “tourist reconquest plan” after a year and a half of health and economic crisis.
Better enhance heritage, upscale the offer, encourage innovation and digitization: the Prime Minister presents this Saturday, November 20 a plan to 1.9 billion euros to revive tourism in France, a sector very affected by the pandemic, aimed at strengthening the country’s position as the world’s leading tourist destination. During the health crisis, the State invested 38 billion euros in aid in the tourism sector which represented in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, 7.4% of GDP and 9.5% of jobs. In 2019, 90 million foreign tourists came to France, generating 170 billion euros in revenue.
Traveling to Amboise, in Indre-et-Loire, Jean Castex will detail the government’s five-year tourism investment plan announced in June by the President of the Republic and of which Matignon presented the main lines the day before. This plan, which has been the subject of consultation with professionals in the sector and communities, will be endowed with an envelope of 1.9 billion euros, according to Matignon, consisting mainly of loans. With the help of this sum, the government wishes to support the upscaling of the offer, help with the development of infrastructures and transport, encourage innovation and digitization as well as enhance the heritage. It also counts
improve training and the attractiveness of professions in the sector, in particular by structuring a “network of excellence” specialized training in tourism and by organizing communication campaigns on jobs in the sector.
The Prime Minister will also be present in Blois in the morning to inaugurate an exhibition “Arts of Islam, a past for a present” at the library.
In detail, 750 million euros will take the form of tourism loans, a tool of the public bank Bpifrance, dedicated to SMEs and VSEs in the tourism sector which need to invest to modernize. The government will also offer 500 million euros in tourism recovery loans, long-term loans from the Banque des Territoires, intended to support major investments by companies or communities. This device, which already existed, was reviewed because it was not used until now due to technical difficulties.
About 650 million euros will take the form of new credits, with a jumble: aid for the poorest to go on vacation; others to bring exhibitors back to shows and fairs; or, aid to develop responsible tourism. Because the plan also aims to make France the first destination for sustainable tourism by 2030, according to Matignon.
But, the professionals of the sector wanted in priority that the plan envisages a spreading of the repayment of the loans guaranteed by the State (PGE), over 10 to 12 years, against four years currently. “It is essential to allow companies to continue to operate and invest,” said Hervé Becam, vice-president of the main employers’ union for the hotel and catering industry, Umih, to AFP. “We want to prevent our business leaders from finding themselves alone with their banker to negotiate the reimbursement of their PGE. It must be supervised,” he believes.
The Minister of the Economy seemed to close the door on Tuesday to any “systematic measure of staggering or abandonment” of PGEs, the reimbursement of which will have to begin in March 2022, declaring that the PGEs were “693,000 private law contracts to which the State had only provided its guarantee“. However, Bruno Le Maire promised that no company would go out of business because of its inability to repay a PGE. To better highlight the hotel offer, the classification of establishments (one to five stars) , will be modernized to integrate sustainable development or the digitization of services.
Didier Chenet, president of the union of independent hotel and restaurant workers, the GNI, pleads for a “European classification allowing foreign tourists to ensure the quality of their accommodation“, tax incentives promoting investment in ecology or digital, or to facilitate business transfers: a “exemption from duties, if the takeover undertakes to keep the staff and to invest up to the saving of the registration fees“.