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

Travel Profile

In-Person Trips, 2016
$857 Million
Visitor Spending, 2016

Market Conditions

GDP Annual Growth Rate

  • In November 2016, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) forecast 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 labor 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. More than half of all French households will be headed by someone aged 55 or older by 2030.

Exchange Rate

  • 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.
  • Check current exchange rates on

Travel & Planning Methodologies


  • 36 weekly flights into Los Angeles and San Francisco
  • 13,124 weekly nonstop seats to California


  • Planning time frame: November-March
  • Booking time frame: December-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

Market Barriers & Risk Factors


  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Tourism Economics 
  • CIC Research, Inc.
  • International Monetary Fund
  • Cabinet Office INSEE
  • France

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