According to France’s authoritative Orchestra Gestour barometer for travel businesses, tourist departures in December 2017 were equivalent to those realized in 2016. And for the year (the period from January to December 2017 vs. 2016) is up, passenger departures were up 3 percent.
For long-haul departures, the Dominican Republic remained the leading long-haul destination for French travelers, despite a sharp drop (down 31 percent) in the number of passengers, while Thailand (+ 12 percent) and the United States (+ 5 percent) ranked 2nd and 3rd respectively are in an upward trend. Cuba (down 26 percent) and Mexico (down 20 percent) struggled last year, while Canada and Vietnam are growing by 20 percent in passenger numbers.
Most of the barometer’s numbers had to do with travel from France to European and short- and medium-haul destinations, where the figures were mixed, although there seemed to be recovery in passenger traffic to northern Africa.
While is not generally a safe practice to compare one organization’s long-haul travel numbers with that of another (differences in sample sizes and methodology can vary), the Orchestra Gestour barometer agreed, somewhat, with the latest estimate for 2017 furnished by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTT0) in the latter’s long-term forecast, which was released last month.
The NTTO estimate had 2017 traffic from France to the U.S. increasing 3 percent over 2016—1,677 million visitors vs. 1,628 million. The broader picture for inbound travel from France is encouraging.
Note: In our own 2018 Market Outlook, INBOUND predicted that inbound arrivals from France would increase “by at least two percent” this year. To access this document, click on the following link: