Tourist numbers 'to triple worldwide by 2020'

7th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

7 April 2004, PARIS - France must urgently prepare for a forecast boom in tourism which will see, by 2020, double the current number of tourists visiting Europe and triple the number worldwide, a public-private French forum warned Wednesday.

7 April 2004

PARIS - France must urgently prepare for a forecast boom in tourism which will see, by 2020, double the current number of tourists visiting Europe and triple the number worldwide, a public-private French forum warned Wednesday.

The forum also urged the French government and tourist sector to establish determined policies to benefit from such growth.

The industry is at a crossroads, participants at the Third Parliamentary Meeting on Tourism agreed late Tuesday before releasing a summary of their talks and warning that competition was getting sharper.

"Either the current situation persists, or determined policies will allow us to prepare for 2020," said Alain Bodon, cabinet director for junior tourism minister Leon Bertrand.

In the first case, the ministry fears urban tourism will stagnate, the number of mountain vacations will decrease and seashore market share will shrink.

It also foresees the failure of "costly, superfluous projects", Bodon said.

To avoid that, France needs "a real interministerial project in concertation with the regions and tourist organisations".

"Never forget," Bodon added, "the wealth of our tourist resources will not protect us from progress by competitor destinations."

Several speakers argued in favor of mixed partnerships between the private and public sectors, while Senator Paul Dubrule, a founding member of the Accor hotel group, criticised "a form of imperialism" by ski-lift operators in the mountains.

Senator Jean-Pierre Vial, who is also a regional council president in the Alps Savoy region, called for ski areas to adopt a "new mode of governance" based on common interests.

© Expatica France News and AFP
                                                                 Subject: French news

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