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.


  • Travel agencies are in vogue over online booking platforms.
  • Travel agents are seeking out flexible itineraries via receptive tour operators or SBT (self booking tools).
  • California is seen as a safe destination blessed with abundant cultural and natural highlights.
  • The French often have high levels of paid vacation and advantageous social security benefits allowing for extended trips.

France Profile

In-Person Trips, 2018
$875 Million
Visitor Spending, 2018

Market Conditions

GDP Annual Growth Rate

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised its growth forecast downwards for France to 1.6% in 2018 which is slightly lower than the rate used by the government for its 2019 budget which worked on projections of 1.7% growth.

Poor Q2 economic figures saw only 0.2% increase in GDP which, along with international uncertainties amid U.S.-China trade negotiations, are largely responsible for a more pessimistic outlook. Although unemployment remains high with a forecast of 8.9%, it will be lower overall for 2018. The IMF also recognizes that “Continued progress in reforms to reduce the administrative burden on business should also benefit growth over the long term.”

However, the “Yellow Vests” movement, started by the French people in Q4 of 2018, allowed expression of strong disagreement with environmental laws proposed by the current President, forcing him to retract on laws to be put into action on Jan 1, 2019. Further, governmental uncertainty in Italy, paired with the U.K. leaving the European Union by March 2019, could have an effect on the French economy.

Exchange Rate

  • 1 Euro equals 1.1523 U.S. Dollar
  • Over the last 12 months, the exchange rate was stable compared to the preceding year with a low of 1.11 and a high of 1.20.

Travel & Planning Methodologies


From 33 to 51 daily flights depending on the season.

  • 49 weekly non stop flights
  • 17,000 weekly non stop seats (+20.3%)
  • 33 weekly non stop flights — low season
  • 61 weekly non stop flights — high season

These non stop flights are flying into three CA gateways— LAX, SFO and OAK. Flight availability has continued to grow out of the French market with new low cost carriers such as French Blue, XL Airways and Norwegian, creating a competitive landscape while the legacy carriers are upgrading their aircraft. ATN (Air Tahiti Nui) is flying its upgraded aircraft fleet of new Boeing 787 Dreamliners as of March 2018 and Delta Air Lines will have new refurbished 777 with private suites from July 2019 on their daily route to LAX.


  • Planning timeframe: November–March
  • Booking timeframe: December/November — mostly December/June
  • Channels have shifted slightly away from online travel booking agencies and back toward travel agencies.
  • Travel agents are keen to build their own flexible itineraries for their clients, using SBT (self booking tools) or by working directly with receptive tour operators.
  • There has been an increase of C2C bookings through Airbnb, and an increase in use of booking platforms linking consumers directly with DMCs (e.g. Evanoes and

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 Millennial consumers.
  • The demand for luxury experience is still growing.


  • 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 consumers willing to discover a long-haul destination, from Millennials to families, seniors and affluent visitors.



  • INSEE, France
  • Average weekly flights and seats, DIIO: January –December 2018
  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • CIC Research, Inc.
  • Tourism Economics
  • INSEE, Direction générale des entreprises (DGE)

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