CTC News

French travellers kept their enthusiasm for long-haul travel in 2013.

Despite modest growth in outbound travel, Canada remains a consistent draw for these European tourists, says CTC’s latest Global Tourism Watch report.

20 February 2014

La vien’est pas belle in France. The economic clouds of the Eurozone crisis, low consumer confidence and weak consumer demand have all cast a pall over French travel habits. Yet despite the gloom, France remains the world’s fifth-largest tourism market, according to the new Global Tourism Watch (GTW) summary report by the Research department of the Canadian Tourism Commission(CTC).

More key facts and figures:

  • Although the incidence of long-haul travel rose to 75% in 2013, French travellers feel they will take fewer trips in the near future, primarily due to fears over international conflicts.
  • Approximately 22% of French travel is long haul: the US, French Caribbean, Thailand, China and Canada comprise the top five destinations.
  • France is Canada’s second-largest overseas market; in 2012, there were 423,000 arrivals.
  • Australia is Canada’s competitor in the minds of French travellers over brand personality perceptions. Canada claims top spot, though, for being friendly and witty.
  • French travellers have a natural affinity with Quebec, with 82% of those consumers intending to visit Canada in the next two years likely to go there. Ontario (71%) and British Columbia (60%) are the other two big draws.
  • Although seeing beautiful scenery is top of French travellers’ wish lists while on vacation—a strong association with Canada—experiencing local lifestyles, cultural and historical attractions plus Aboriginal culture are also much sought after.
  • The top barrier that prevents French consumers visiting is that they perceive Canada to be too expensive. Other preferred destinations was the next barrier cited.
  • Trip planning and booking cycles take their time in France (like a good dinner), and almost 50% of French travellers seek travel-agent advice before putting pen to paper on a long-haul trip.
  • Recent French visitors to Canada have been middle-aged or older, married, well educated and well off. With one in three having close friends or family already in Canada, personal connections play a major role in this market.
  • Getting travel information in person is the primary source for French travellers, followed by traditional resources such as TV travel shows, travel guides and books.
  • The most popular activity for French consumers on vacation is sending a postcard, followed by using a computer to research what to see and do.
  • The French prefer to share their travel stories in person (69%); using social networks was only popular for 31%.

TNS conducts the Global Tourism Watch surveys for CTC. The company asks thousands of participants aged 18 and over from around the world for their views on Canada and CTC’s “Canada. Keep Exploringtourism brand. The 2013 reports look to identify shifts in each market since 2011 via a substantially revised questionnaire. 

Read the Global Tourism Watch 2013 France summary report.

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