A total of 89.4 million visits to France in the year 2018 was a 3% hike compared to the number of visits in 2017, with the number of tourists who landed in Paris exceeding 40 million. France being the most visited country in the world employs more than 2.8 billion people and contributes approximately 200 billion Euros to its GDP (which is 8.5% of the economy of France).[caption id="attachment_361" align="alignnone" width="600"] (Source: Statista, 2021)[/caption]
According to a report by Schengen Visa Info published in September 2020, France suffered losses of about 48 billion Euros in its tourism industry alone. Additionally, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) announced that the lack of international tourists in France due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic could be associated with a drop in international spending by 82%, which is equivalent to 131.2 million Euros a day, or 918 million Euros a week.[caption id="attachment_362" align="alignnone" width="600"] (Source: Statista, 2021; contribution of tourism to loss of consumption expenditures in France, during Covid-19 outbreak, 2020)[/caption]
Also, a report by CNBC in 2020 states that France has been facing a major 30-40% fall in tourists post the Covid-19 outbreak.
WTTC’s Economic Impact Report, 2020 states that in 2019, the tourism sector in France alone provided employment to 2.7 million or 9.4% of the country’s total workforce. Meanwhile, WTTC’s president and CEO, Gloria Guevara plans to shift to comprehensive and cost-effective test and trace programs at departure points throughout the country, which she believes will rebuild confidence to travel among tourists. She says, “It will further enable the restoration of vital “air corridors” between countries and regions with similar rates of Covid-19 cases.”
This is where digital marketing steps in. President Guevara aims to re-establish trans-Atlantic travel in order to strengthen the travel and tourism sector, which could further benefit the airlines, hotels, travel agents, tour operators, as well as employment in international travel. Plus, the Government might even start considering re-initiating travel between France and other major international hubs e.g., London, New York, Dubai, etc. This would help boost an economic global recovery from the impacts of the pandemic with the help of Digital Marketing for the Tourism Industry.
Hence, a well-thought and executed social media campaign will help reach out to the target audience for support. A campaign that is informative, particularly about how this strategy might help counter the worldwide recession caused by Covid-19, will aid in gaining empathy across millions who want to rebuild their financial status to support their families. Further, this measure could also instigate the path to navigate out of the vast depression (both economic and mental) that has resulted from this pandemic.
While a report by www.condoferries.co.uk published in 2019 states that the annual contribution of the travel and tourism industry in France to its GDP was expected to reach 248.1 billion Euros in 2028, the current drop indicates a major drawback in achieving the targeted expectations.
Thus, by dividing the digital marketing strategy among the various sectors of consumption that contribute to the tourism industry, whatever results of improvement are achieved can be multiplied to a great extent. By spreading awareness internationally about the investments in safety measures being taken for the betterment of all these segments individually, a more confident and co-operative crowd of international tourists can be attracted to France in a much shorter span of recovery time.
Considering the impacts of the pandemic that spread safety measures and social distancing across the globe like a wildfire, the safety measures introduced in the food manufacture and service procedures to prevent the spread of the virus need to be brought to the forefront in order to gain public confidence. From manufacture to handling to serving to packaging and finally delivery-close attention to safety in all these aspects is the new norm. And to what level is this being done should be transparent to the crowd-through digital marketing and social media.
How these accommodation places, e.g., hotels, guest houses, and other hospitality units are being managed in terms of cleanliness of rooms, food and drinks served, and workers’ safety-everything should be out there for the knowledge of the public within and outside the borders. This will not just attract them with the assurance that they will be back home safe and sound, but also induce in them a sense of responsibility and transparency from your end.
Basically, all such tourist services at this pandemic stage need to be cleaned up after every booking is done. And whether the driver (or any worker associated with the services) and the car provided by them is virus-free or not is the responsibility of the agency itself. So, before proceeding to provide the service for a booking, all test-and-trace procedures must be followed. Promoting these responsible procedures on the internet will also assure customers of their safety and attract them.
Ensuring that these areas are sanitized at every fixed interval of time, maintaining social distancing policies and safety measures like having a mask on all the time-such basic steps are the minimum that can be done to avoid the spread of Coronavirus. If the effective implementation of all these steps is promoted across the internet on a regular basis, consumer trust can be gained alongside branding on a large scale.
The main significant factor that digital marketing will induce in the mind of every tourist landing in France is that they will have a safe and structured experience, without having to compromise on any of their tourism plans. And in fact, with digitalization taking over trends in all industries, contactless services will help transform their experiences into real-time yet virtual ones, too! What needs to be done is just telling them about it in an informative manner-digitally, utilizing the potential of the internet in the true sense.
Digital Piloto, June 12, 2021
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