“It’s imperative that we profit from using the URL France.com” declares Laurent Fabius while also stating that the URL is owned by a Florida company…

In June of 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs convenes a committee on Tourism and  it the latter comes up with 40 recommendations to grow Tourism to France.

One of the proposals is the declared intention by the Ministry to appropriate for itself the domain name France.com (while recognizing that it’s the property of a US company) , without any negotiation, but by “aggressive means” (sic)

Laurent Fabius will declare later that day that it is “imperative that we profit from the URL France.com”!

Here’s the English translation of Recommendation 21:

“Get the France.com URL and make it the tourism promotion portal with a viable business model, a centralization of keyword purchases and the piloting of the country’s e-tourism reputation.

It is imperative to be able to take advantage of the www.france.com domain name to ensure our tourist promotion.

At the instigation of the Council, new steps have been taken to obtain the recovery of this URL, currently owned by a Florida-based company.

Two options open up, that of negotiation and the more aggressive one of contentious action.

Without a clear mandate, the first track has not produced convincing results in recent years. We must then have a single entry point with a strong strategy to regain control of France’s digital promotion.

The current site (www.rendezvousenfrance.com) remains difficult to identify and should be replaced by France.com or France.fr

Four objectives would be set for the website.

1- The first will be to guarantee the quality of content and translations (about 15 languages, at least for priority destinations and target countries – the site will be based on its launch on the existing content of rendezvousenfrance.fr).

2- The portal will help the actors to coordinate by imposing in the short term a simple standard of exchange of flows (XML and creation of API for strategic brands).

3- It will centralize the purchase of keywords for the referencing of our destinations on the search engines by avoiding the continuation of the current situation whereby tourist offices compete keyword  auctions between themselves.

4- It will manage the e-tourist reputation of France. Discussions, particularly with groups of bloggers, showed that France was poorly represented on social networks, unlike countries such as Germany and South Africa. The public exchanges of the twitter community show the unattractiveness of the official hashtag #RdvEnFrance. This does not encourage these influencers to use it unlike #iloveParis, more popular. 

A centralized control would surely be beneficial but will require some investment because a strategy in this area is anything but final.

The ambitious objectives of the France.com portal can only be achieved if an economic model allows for self-financing.

To this end, a media model could be considered with product advertising and additional income from redirection to approved (pay per click) commercial sites.

This funding could be based on partnerships (Accor, Orange, Air France, Voyages-SNCF, Michelin, Amadeus, Odigeo, Hoteliers, OTA etc.) through a new type of report geared more towards efficiency than sponsorship .

With a real ambition, the portal will have to meet clearly defined performance criteria.

A target of one million unique visitors per month could be set by the end of the first year after launch.

In terms of governance, information would benefit from being centralized by Atout France, with a dedicated dedicated team and a specific budget, institutional partners guaranteeing the quality of content. Strong partnerships should be sought to create audience and visibility”.