Swimmers near a lake
20 May 2019

Interministerial Tourism Committee: a new world record for visitors to France

On 17 May 2019, the Prime Minister chaired the fourth meeting of the Interministerial Tourism Committee, during which figures on tourism in France were presented along with measures designed to keep France in the number-one spot of the world rankings of most visited countries.
In 2018, France recorded a new world record in terms of visitors: with 89.4 million foreign visitors, it is the planet's leading tourist destination. The figure represents a 3% increase compared with 2017.

Revenue from international tourism, estimated at 56.2 billion euros in 2018, rose by almost 5% compared with 2017, reaching the highest level ever recorded.

17,700 jobs have been created in the catering sector and 2,000 in the hotel sector over the last twelve months. Hotel stays by French nationals were up by 1.5% at the beginning of 2019. And revenue from tourism rose again in January and February 2019.

Following the Interministerial Tourism Committee's meeting and in order to ensure that French citizens benefit fully from the effects of the Republic's top position, the Government decided:
  • To develop a comprehensive employment/tourism plan to attract talents, train them better and reduce job turnover, with a view to using France's position as tourism world leader to maximise numbers of non-relocatable quality jobs across our soil.
  • To reform the VAT refund scheme in order to increase the economic benefits of international tourism (extension of the authorised period between purchase and issue of the tax refund slip from 1 to 3 days in 2020, increase of the cash reimbursement ceiling from €1,000 to €3,000 in 2020, and lowering the tax refund threshold from 175 to 100 in 2021).
  • To harness tourism to make the utmost of France's outstanding historical heritage:
- by developing tourism offers in renovated buildings of major heritage interest;
- by launching the "French capitals of culture" initiative, which will promote a medium-sized French town (between 20,000 and 200,000 inhabitants) every two years, on the model of the "European capitals of culture" programme, with a view to making culture a vector of tourism development across the country.