France launches massive 18 billion Tourism Relaunch Plan. Premier: tourism a national priority

Paris announces a massive €18 billion Tourism Relaunch Plan. Here are what measures it contains.

They have called it Plan de Relance Tourisme, “Tourism Relaunch Plan,” and it is a massive €18 billion package of measures that France has launched, complete with a dedicated website, for one of the sectors hardest hit by the crisis, which provides the country with 8 percent of its GDP and employs 2 million workers who take care of the needs of the 90 million tourists who come to the country each year. The plan, which is in addition to the state-guaranteed loan program launched in recent days (6.2 billion euros), was unveiled Thursday morning by French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, who said he “understands the anguish of tourism professionals, which is perfectly legitimate,” during his speech reserved for the sector. Tourism, the premier added, “is facing probably the worst test in modern history, and since it is one of the pillars of the French economy, its rescue is a national priority.”

The French government is waiting for responses from health authorities to reopen tourist facilities (the decision will be made the week of May 25), but in the meantime, Philippe said, “we do not want to take the risk of leaving such an important sector for the country affected.” The plan is based on three lines, which follow the timeframe of the health emergency: those of the most acute phase of the emergency, those of the gradual reopening, and the long term, which is the time it will take for France to “reconquer the first level of world tourism.” Here are the measures listed by the premier:

  • Solidarity fund for businesses in the sector (accommodations and restaurant companies) open until the end of 2020 for companies with up to 20 employees and up to 2 million euros in turnover: it will guarantee aid of up to ten thousand euros per company;
  • Strengthening of the state-guaranteed loan program with a special fund, called “Prêt garantis État Saison,” which will be dedicated exclusively to tourism businesses;
  • Increase from 250 million euros to 1 billion euros of the tourism loan fund of Bpifrance, the French public investment bank;
  • Exemption of employer charges owed by tourism enterprises for the months of March and June;
  • Tax credit corresponding to 20 percent of wages paid since February guaranteed to businesses in the sector to encourage business recovery (it can be discounted from taxes due);
  • Extension ofthe layoff fund until the end of September 2020 (and possible further extension if recovery is slow, conditions will be evaluated at the time);
  • 1.3 billion investment plan to jumpstart the sector (which the government calculates will generate an additional 6.7 billion in private investment by attracting capital);
  • Tax relief for local governments that have suffered losses from not collecting the tourist tax;
  • Doubling of the fund for tickets-restaurant and possibility to use after reopening those that expired during the epidemic period.

“It is an unprecedented plan, it is massive, it is necessary,” concluded Prime Minister Philippe. “We hope it will produce the effects sought. The state’s response will have to match the difficulties faced by this strategic sector.” Philippe ended his speech by reminding that the French will be able to vacation in France starting in July.

France launches massive 18 billion Tourism Relaunch Plan. Premier: tourism a national priority
France launches massive 18 billion Tourism Relaunch Plan. Premier: tourism a national priority

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