Published on : Saturday, May 16, 2020
France has announced measures worth 18 billion Euros ($19 billion) for supporting its tourism sector, which has been damaged by the coronavirus crisis, resulting shutdown of beaches, leisure attractions and hotels.
In 2019, almost 90 million foreign tourists visited France, making it the world’s most visited country. Tourism accounts for almost 8% of France’s 2.3 trillion Euro economy.
“Tourism is facing what is probably its worst challenge in modern history,” said French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. “Because this is one of the crown jewels of the French economy, rescuing it is a national priority.”
“This very French pleasure, which is at the heart of our identity, to meet up, eat well and have a chat, has been compromised by the lockdown first, and then the conditions of lifting that lockdown,” Philippe added.
The prime minister said that 95% of hotels closed due to the pandemic, and the government’s priority was to avoid bankruptcies and job cuts.
To check job losses, the French government is reimbursing companies for 70% of the gross wages of workers that they put as unpaid, and Philippe said that they will extend this measure up till the end of September if required, even though the government is considering winding down support for other sectors.
Philippe said that he hoped that restaurants would be able to re-open on June 2 in the country’s “green zones” where the virus is under check.