This assignment is about the tourism industry in France, includes its tourism historical context, migration, population structure, language hosts use within France and local hosts’ religion. Furthermore, it will mention about the development of tourism, transport and rural development. It will also talk about France’s seasonality and their employment. Besides, it will talk about how EU policy and politics that relevant with France’s development of tourism.
Metropolitan France is located in the Western Europe, extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea. It is nearby Belgium, Spain and Italy. France is at the southeast of United Kingdom and link with it by English Channel. Furthermore, France has few numbers of territories around the world, which included French Guiana that at Northern South America, nearby by the North Atlantic Ocean, between Brazil and Suriname. Guadeloupe and Martinique situated at Caribbean island. Reunion that is an island located in the India Ocean at southern Africa.
Tourism: the historical context
The earliest of tourism found in the France is in the 17th and 18th centuries, which called The Grand Tour, which undertook by mainly upper class European young men for education purposes, such as foreign languages, cultural and art of the destination, riding and dancing etc. At 18th century, the pattern started to change, people changed their purpose from Grand Tour to health tourism, spa holiday. In France, there were Aix-les-Bains and Vichy etc spa town provide specific facilities for health and leisure to its visitors, and they were mainly come from upper classes as low class people cannot afford at the beginning, but middle class visitors later.
Vichy is probably the best-known of French spas, although it now attracts fewer wealthy foreign clients than the era prior to the Second World War. (Boniface B and Cooper C, 2005, p. 205)
At the beginning of 19th century, people started to move from spa holiday to seaside resort for medical reasons as drinking sea water can fight various disease or disorders, but entertainment soon instead of the purpose of medical reasons. From the middle of the 19th century, there is trend of the increasing number of middle-class tourists travel to seaside resort by following upper class footstep, they are mainly families with children, which lead more and more of the French coasts to be developed for the tourism industry, the French Riviera and the north coast of France from Boulogne to Cherbourg. Alpine resorts start to attract tourists from the end of the 19th century during the period of the winter. Ski resort soon became popular, and France became one of the popular destinations for skiing holiday.
The French Apls have become Europe’s most popular winter sports destination, attracting domestic and foreign skiers alike. (Boniface B and Copper C, 2005, p.207)
Migration, population structure, language and religion
According to Migration Policy institute 2004, there are 140,033 people flows into France from other countries. 64.4% are from Africa, 8.7% are from Americans, 16.6% are from Asia, 9.8% are from Europe, 0.3% is from Oceania and 0.1% is from unknown. According to CIA world fact book 2009, the total population in metropolitan France is estimate 62,150,775 (July 2009), 18.6% of 0-14 years old (6,129,729 male and 5,838,925 female), 65% of 15-64 years old (20,963,124 male and 20,929,280 female), and 16.4 % of 65 years old and over (estimate 4,403,248 male and 6,155,767 female, 2009). The official language people use in France is French. However, few numbers of people still using regional dialects such as Provencal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque and Flemish, which declining rapidly recently. According to CIA world fact book, Roman Catholic is the mainly religions in France, which is 83%-88%, 2% are Protestant, 1% are Jewish, 5%-10% are Muslim and 4% are unaffiliated.
Agriculture, tourism and rural development
France is one of the countries with well developed rural tourism with 80% of rural areas in French territory (Sources, 2005) which bring the economy profit to the country and rural area.
In 2005, tourism consumption in France amounted to 108.11 billion euros, of which about 59 billion for the residents. The share of rural areas in terms of tourism consumption represents 19.3% or about 20 billion euros. (Source, 2005, author’s own translation)
The most popular rural tourism activities is camping and caravans in rural areas. Except French people always go to camping and caravans, foreign tourists from other countries like United Kingdom are also like to visit France for camping and caravan during the summer, especially is for educational purpose such as Scout.
The Federation du Scoutisme Francais lobbied the government for the recognition of their training and qualifications resulting in the 1998 act regulating camps and activities organised by recognised French Scouting Associations (ScouteBaseUK, 2007)
Rural tourism started develops at 1950 on France as the government noticed the potential value of it. In France, there are varieties of activities for rural tourism for instance, Gîtes, Logis de France, Chambres d’Hôtes, Fermes-Auberges, food and drink as heritage, Crafts, ecomisées and loisirs Accueil, these examples are successful and inspired by public sector and mainly is supply accommodation, food and drink during people’s holiday by the traditional way. (Swarbroke J, 1999a, p.164-165)
Food and drink as heritage’s instance is alcoholic beverages, and Vineyards is famous area for alcoholic beverages, this activity is all about observation of grapes growing and being harvested, wine production, tasting and visiting wine cellars, even buy wines. (Sznajder M and Scrimgeour F et al, 2009, p249)
According to Rural tourism International, the most visited areas in France for rural tourism are located in the Mediterranean area, for instance Dordogne, Provence, Pyrenees, Massif Central and the Alps etc.
Seasonality and employment
France is the major destination that at the top of the rank on International Tourist Arrivals by according to UNWTO 2009, which had 79.3million tourist arrival, and the international tourism receipts is 55.6billion that rank at third.
Traffic volume in France link with school holiday tightly as families can take their children go holiday, like Christmas, New Year and summer holiday. In winter, French people will go for winter sport holiday with their families all the time, and their favourite destination is the mountain, and the transport they used for travel majority is car, therefore, it leads heavy traffic during these times. Furthermore, July to August traffic volume really busy as well as overseas tourists will visit France during summer.
Accounting to the Observatory of Tourism, 39.5% of French people travel on holidays at least once during the winter season. The favourite destination during this period of the year is mountain, with 21.7% of overnight stays. (Bison Futé, 2009)
Sources: Bison Futé, 2010
According to Eurostat, the employment rate in France is gradually increased from 59.6% (1997) to 64.9% (2008), and decrease to 64.2% (2009). The average working hours for full time jobs per week are 41.Besides, the unemployment rate in France from 9.1% (March 2009) increase to 10.1% (February 2010).
Different than other European countries, tour operators and all inclusive holiday is not popular in France as many of French people like to plan their domestic holiday on their own than travel abroad. Furthermore, they travel by car for mainly rather than flight, about 80% of French people travel by car. Therefore, there are not much jobs provide by tour operator for local people, only 5% of the total people working in the whole tourism industry. (Pompl W and Lavery P, 1993, p.214) However, other areas in the tourism industry like accommodation, attractions did provide lots of jobs opportunities for local people.
Transport and development; Spatial patterns of travel
Transport is always important for travel to and within the destination, and the development of the transport leads people can reach their destination easier and quicker. There are different modes for transport, include road, rail, air and sea. Tourists mainly use air transport for further destination, however, the growth of low-cost airlines lead more and more tourists use air transport as this is a lots quicker than the other method of transport in the recently years. France has both international and domestic airports, which is really accessible for inbound, outbound and domestic tourism. Road transport is the earliest transport in the world and still very popular for domestic travel and within Europe, this includes cars, buses, and caravans etc. However, buses are becoming out of date even it is the cheapest way to travel, and only for short distance as it is not comfortable than the other method of transport and slow. Car travel for domestic tourism in France is really huge as France has variety of resources for different types of holiday, even special interest holiday, includes skiing, beaches, food and drink, urban and rural etc holiday.
Transport by car dominates tourism in France, accounting for two-thirds of inbound tourists and almost 80 per cent of domestic holiday (Boniface B and Cooper C, 2005, p.198)
Rail transport is popular for domestic travel and within Europe. The development of high speed train increase the numbers of people travel by train as it is faster and comfortable than air transport. Domestic travel within the France by rail transport is also common as the network of high speed train did cover some of the main cities in France, which leads it easier to access.
These Run mainly on dedicated track at speeds of 270 kilometres per hour, linking Paris to Lyon, Lille, Mantes, Bordeaux and Nice. (Boniface B and Cooper C, 2005, p.187)
Sea is the other method of transport, however, it may not as popular as the other mode of transport as it took longer to reach the destination, and cost a lot more than the other, especially is cruise. However, there are more and more cruise holiday to France recently, mainly come from Britain.
Cross-Channel ferries are the preferred transport mode for tourists from Britain. (Boniface B and Cooper C, 2005, p.199)
Relevant EU policy and politics
There is not any EU policy is particular for tourism, nevertheless, there are some EU policy for environment, transport, employment and development which link with tourism industry tightly. Under the employment policy, there is a harmonisation of qualifications to improve the quality of service within the tourism industry through European Social Fund (ESF) to support training course in tourism, these training are mainly for catering and hotels. Furthermore, rural development policy are support by the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (FEOGA) for helping farmers expand their income sources and improve their farm accommodation and infrastructure etc, which could help develop the rural tourism activity. Beside, the environment policy is to protect nature resources and habitats, and reduce the pollution, for instance noise, air and water etc. The policy is also aim to improve the environmental for better quality holiday for tourists. In addition, the transport policy is very important to tourism industry as they are inextricably linked. (Fitzpatrick Associates, 1993, p.56-80)
Overall, France is one of the earliest countries to develop tourism and is one of popular destination in the world nowadays as France had variety of natural resources for different tourism activities, thus, France’s domestic tourism is huge. French people travel by car mainly, so it causes high volume of traffic during the periods of school holiday as most of them go for domestic tourism. However, the huge domestic tourism leads the lack of people require all inclusive holiday and tour operator, hence tour operators in France cannot provide many job opportunities for French people. Rural tourism in France is well developed as well as France has plenty of rural areas for tourism and developed nearly 60 years, which appeal to both of French people and foreign tourists. The popular examples for rural tourism are camping and caravans. There are different modes of transport for getting to and getting around with France and cars is the most popular one. However, for long distance destination are mainly by flight. Beside, high speed train became more and more popular in France gradually as it is a lot comfortable and accessible. There is not any particular EU policy for tourism, but there are environment policy, rural development policy, employment policy and transport policy which linked with tourism closely.
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