Barely unveiled, the pot for tourism already excites a large number of tourist operators who are thinking or would like to get their hands on it.

Announced on October 8 by the Ministry in charge of tourism, France – which aims to welcome 100 million foreign tourists in 2020 (against 85 currently announced) – wants to raise nearly one billion euros to develop tourism , via an investment platform that was launched by the Caisse des Dépôts.

2020, and 1 billion for 100 million, that sounds good.

Objectives: develop hotel infrastructures , improve the reception of travelers or promote digital technology and innovation. More generally: give muscle to French tourism. At the same time, Bpifrance (a subsidiary of Caisse des Dépôts) is creating a fund of 100 million euros in favor of innovation in tourism, which should benefit the hotel industry, in particular. So much money!

As in poker, it was not enough for the Ministry in charge of tourism to bluff (make speeches), it was still necessary at some point to show the color of its money. Or rather that of the Caisse des Dépôts, in this case.

We can only applaud these landmark announcements with amounts that strike the spirits. How naive we were to believe that the state had no more money.

First, we can ask ourselves a few questions about the foundations of this financial achievement. Does this confirm that the government has finally become aware of the need to renovate and give more substance to tourist accommodation and more particularly to the French hotel industry? However, it has been exactly 10 years since the Committee for the Modernization of French Hotels and Tourism has asked that this sad observation be taken seriously of the delay in modernity of our offer and that the public authorities do something. But, Rome didn’t happen overnight, apparently.

Does this novelty also suggest that there is a problem with the official statistics of tourist attendance? Is it therefore that France would not be the world’s leading tourist destination if it had to be given so much money? Because when you’re first, you usually don’t have to make such great efforts. Our opinion is that the official statistics are false.

Who will benefit? 

So, obviously, we will now have to see how this good new money will be spent and who will actually have access to it. For the hotel industry alone, the previous aid measures by Oséo / Bpifrance had been a fiasco and have served no purpose. They were inaccessible to ordinary professionals with too elitist and restrictive criteria ( see our article-analysis ).

As for the beneficiaries of today’s budget (spread over 5 years), hardly these measures announced by the Minister, already jostle behind the scenes the essential oligarchs : major players and dominant groups in tourism, professional organizations and unions, and elected officials. territorial weight. All are already trying to grab everything they can from this fund for their good works, their small projects or their dreams. Everyone will play their influence between those who know a former minister of Giscard, or even of Pompidou, and those who tap in front of the ministries all year round.

In short, it is feared – once again – that this money will benefit neither those who need it most, nor the interests of tourism in general. Matter of habit. But, “Wait and see”. Even if disillusions are common in tourism in the face of public aid that is provided.

Another question that arises: is it enough? “. No one can say it because no inventory of needs has been done with science and method. Besides, no one would know how to do it, if it were to be launched. France’s strategy in terms of tourism continues to be defined with a wet finger and according to the opportunistic whims of political personnel with the desired advertising effects. So 1 billion, less or more, it leans on nothing. Otherwise it sounds good to the ear!

But, above all, it is important to remember that the amount of money available matters a lot less than how you use it and spend it . French tourism, its elected officials and its public actors have too accustomed us to always asking for more, to spend without knowing and without efficiency, to ignore calculations of return on investments. Or so little. And an audit on how to invest in tourism by communities is not on the agenda.

One can just hope in front of the mountain of gold which presents itself in an unexpected way vis-à-vis tourism professionals, that the Caisse des Dépôts – reputed to be a good manager, prudent and concerned about public funds – will know how to calm indecent enthusiasm and finance what it needs. where it is needed.

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