Travel Profile (total)

  Yr/Yr % Chg
Visitor Spending (2016p) $867 million -
California Market Share (2015) 27.1% -
Visitors to California (2016p) 442,000 -
2017 Visitation Forecast (% change vs. 2016p) 432,000 -2.3%
2021 Visitation Forecast (% change vs. 2016p) 479,000 +8.4%
2021 Spending Forecast $955 million -

(updated May 2017)
U.S. Department of Commerce; Tourism Economics 

Leisure Travel Profile (81% of total)  

Vacation/Holiday 90% 134
Hotel/Motel 77% 128
Average Length of Stay - Nights 8.9 70
Average Spend Per Trip $1,462 73
Average Destinations Visited Per Trip 4 129
Average Party Size 2 117
Travel with Children 14.9% 111

Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce; CIC Research, Inc.



Market Conditions

France GDP Quarterly Growth Rate

In November 2016, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) forecasted GDP growth in France to edge up to 1.6 percent by 2018, as tax cuts and faster job growth support stronger private consumption. Business investment should also pick up owing to tax reductions and low interest rates. Unemployment should continue to fall, thanks to lower social security contributions, hiring subsidies and significant upscaling of training. Inflation will remain low. A continued reduction in debt servicing costs and some spending restraint is projected to bring the fiscal deficit down to just below 3 percent of GDP in 2018. Tax and social security cuts have reduced labour costs and improved the investment climate.

According to McKinsey & Company, as France’s population is getting older this will have profound economic implications, pressuring per capita GDP growth, purchasing power and consumption. They expect more than half of all French households will be headed by someone aged 55 or older by 2030.

  Check current exchange rates on

Over the last 12 months, the exchange rate was even more stable than the preceding year with a low of 1.03603 and a high of 1.15272

Source: International Monetary Fund,, Cabinet Office INSEE, France



Competitive Landscape


Market Barriers

  • Staycations (France competes with all of the California pillars)
  • Canada (less expensive, French-speaking, more direct flights)
    • Québec budget now $30 million worldwide, including France
    • Over $2 million invested in a video campaign called “Rooms with a View” from March to May 2017
  • United States: New York City and Florida (east coast is more accessible)
    • Las Vegas increased budget and trade presence in market
  • Thailand (less expensive flights, cultural discovery, Bangkok, beaches) In November 2016, the Organization for Economic Co-operation
    • Political unrest did little to moderate demand.
  • Strength of U.S. dollar




Risk Factors

  • European terrorism threats continue to put the French on edge, however, this is not necessarily an inhibiting factor for outbound, longhaul travel. In fact, the United States is considered a safe alternative to Middle East and North African vacation destinations.
  • 2017 European elections, the continued trends of “nationalization,” and departing from the status quo, which has spurred election results in the United Kingdom (Brexit) and President Trump’s administration in the United States are a factor to keep an eye on.






  • 40 weekly flights into Los Angeles and San Francisco
  • 14,249 weekly nonstop seats to California
  • Planning time frame: Nov.–March
  • Booking time frame: Dec.–April/June
  • Channels have shifted slightly away from online travel agencies and back more toward travel agencies
  • Increase of consumer-to-consumer bookings through Airbnb
  • Over 65 tour operators now package California products
  • 36 percent travel as couples and 28 percent travel as a family group
  • 37 percent plan 3–6 months in advance of travel
  • New escorted tours dedicated solely to California have been created which will no doubt lead to other companies following this lead



Other Market Insights

  • Market:
    • Increased number of low-cost carriers
      • Low-cost carrier Norwegian now offers a direct flight Paris CDG to Los Angeles, and more and more low-cost carriers are starting to offer one-stop flights from Paris to California (e.g. Wow Air)
  • Product Experience:
    • Travelers value safe destinations, such as California
      • As demonstrated again in July 2016, the recurrence of domestic terror attacks plus the ongoing instability in traditional North African vacation destinations continue to focus attention of French travelers on the value of safer destinations such as California
  • Audience:
    • Visitor access is slightly more restricted
      • Some categories of travelers are no longer eligible to enter the United States on the Visa Waiver Program:
        • People who have visited Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen since March 1, 2011 (with a few exceptions)
        • Citizens of a country that benefits from a visa waiver program, with a nationality of Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria



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