Fostering, supervising, regulating, preserving the common heritage… these are the main missions of governments and agencies that must take them to heart. Create, develop, design, innovate, know your market, benchmark… these are the missions of the sector's professionals whom governments must trust in order to know how to act in order to preserve their market share. One might be tempted to step on others' turf. "However, it is by assuming each of our well-defined roles and by pushing the expertise, know-how and knowledge ever further that we will build a solid and sustainable tourism strategy." Through debate, by challenging each other, we will continue to make progress.
Public institutions tend to create public/private agencies to do a kind of lobbying that is not representative of the profession, using the full influence of the government sphere to offer companies services that may also be available from private companies. These bodies also serve to place people in official positions in exchange for their services without considering their real capacities. This unfair competition distorts the rules of the sector by trying to create an ecosystem that is not healthy. What a strange way for public authorities to act, in the midst of the yellow vest crisis, to encroach on a market of free competition when institutions are in no way bound by an obligation to be profitable. How can we imagine the pursuit of a healthy economy in this perspective? We must not forget that the vast majority of entrepreneurs in France, as well as in our sector, are SMEs and very small businesses. The list of markets that the authorities are trying to appropriate is long and what is currently being put in place is probably only the tip of the iceberg.
While this iceberg remains in territorial waters we should remember that the tourism challenges for French and European players go beyond their boundaries. It doesn't seem does not seem normal that there is such a reluctance on the part of public investors in France and Europe to support entrepreneurs abroad; to help them gain market share in other countries. "All the Qatari, Chinese and other investment funds… are on the offensive on all markets, ready to seize the best opportunities, while we are always on the defensive." Aside from a few powerful groups, we are not helping businesses develop exportation despite being in a global economy.
In our businesses, supply creates demand and fortifies what exists. We should thus capitalize on all these nurseries to cultivate futur treasures and export them very early in order to familiarize international clientele with our brands and concepts and strengthen our businesses so they may rival one another worldwide.
"As a destination, France has major assets, it has a flourishing natural and patrimonial diversity, strong brands where our industry's leaders have invested colossal sums through their groups." AccorHotels, Club Med, LVMH, Kering, Pierre&Vacances… are just a few… It may also include territorial labels with high levels of awareness: Champagne, Bordeaux, Bourgogne, Paris… to attract tourist from all over. The government holds all the cards to promote these treasures that are loaded with history and renown and thus attract increasing volumes of visitors, rather than dispersing to do jobs whose legitimacy belongs to private sector companies and where government expertise is limited.
France is also part of the European Union; one might wonder upon observing what happened to the dream of the CECA? 6 European governments came together nearly 70 years ago to combine forces. Over time, others came on board, believing in what the European Union could offer them. But where are we now? Now that France and neighboring Italy can't get along and the European commission refuses the creation of a railroad giant, one wonders what route Europe is trying to follow. Moreover even if we add up all 27 countries in the EU, Europe far from being the leading tourist destination worldwide. The absence of a shared strategy prevents the sector from rivaling with the major companies on the web. The GAFA are also increasingly interested in tourism products and now have the means to extend their hold on this industry by conquering massive market shares, if nothing happens first. We hope that this European vessel is able to resume its course… this will also depend on our politicians who will need to be capable of taking on these challenges.