Does tourism benefit local employment? Without wanting to be unpleasant, it is clear that Hauts-de-France is not the most touristic places in France. However, the region starts from so far that, in the end, it does not fare so badly. 2019 was the best year ever, with 12 million overnight stays sold in hotels and campsites in the region and 6.22 billion euros in turnover. Far, very far from the 70 million overnight stays and 21 billion turnover in Ile-de-France, France’s leading tourist region. In terms of jobs related to this sector, things are moving slowly, but there is still work to be done.
The National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (Insee) has just published a study on the contribution of tourism to local employment in Hauts-de-France. If the finding is not brilliant, it should nevertheless be put into perspective, the figures used dating back to 2017. At that time, therefore, INSEE had recorded 52,700 jobs dependent on tourism. Hotels, restaurants, culture, leisure… Compared to employment figures for all sectors in the region, this only represented 2.6%. “This ratio is the lowest observed in the provincial regions,” notes the Institute, the national average being established at 4.1%.
Hauts-de-France, “a real tourist destination”
For the Hauts-de-France Regional Tourism and Congress Committee, even at the time, the account was not there: “There are certainly the 50,000 jobs linked to the local tourist activity, but also the near 20,000 jobs linked to transport ”, we are told. A change that takes us from last to 7th place … “It was less true before, but today we have clearly become a real tourist destination”, adds François Navarro, CEO of Hello Lille, an attractiveness agency .
According to the regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI), the only areas of hotels, restaurants and drinking places totaled more than 70,000 employees before the Covid crisis in 2019. That is to say nearly 6% of the total local employment. A jump of three points in a few years that the boss of Hello Lille explains easily: “Today there are more hotels, around a thousand more rooms. But there are also more big events like congresses or international sporting events. All this generates flows of tourists and therefore jobs, ”says François Navarro.
What does not change is the position of the Lille metropolis as the locomotive of regional tourism. The attractiveness agency estimates that the MEL generates between 60 and 70% of the region’s tourist benefits. “In 2020, the metropolis concentrated 32,000 jobs related to tourism,” notes Hello Lille.