Summary of our market study

The sustainable tourism market has witnessed significant growth, with the global market valued at around 203.4 billion euros in 2019 and projected to reach approximately 340.4 billion euros by 2027. This market is evolving with a compound annual growth rate of 23.2% from 2021 to 2027.

France, being a pivotal tourist destination, contributed 48 million international tourists in 2021 and is actively working towards sustainability, as 46% of the French population consider sustainability when planning vacations. The French market for sustainable tourism was estimated at 0.757 billion euros in 2021, and it is forecasted to grow by 20% annually, potentially doubling in size by 2026.

Although there's a high demand for sustainable tourism—driven by environmental concerns—growth is somewhat limited by higher costs and a lack of adequate supply. In response, the French government allocated 50 million euros to reform the industry, focusing on sectors like catering and accommodation. There is an evident trend towards more eco-friendly travel practices, yet financial constraints remain a challenge, as over half of travelers find sustainable options expensive. Associations and public sector interventions are crucial in guiding this transition, with associations like Acteurs du Tourisme Durable and label initiatives like the Clef Verte playing significant roles. Despite the challenges, the trends indicate a robust shift towards sustainable tourism practices on a global scale.

Demand for Sustainable Tourism in France: A Conscious Shift Towards Greener Travel

In recent years, the awareness and importance of environmental sustainability in tourism have gained significant traction in France. French travelers are increasingly conscious of their environmental footprint while on vacation, with a marked shift toward sustainable practices. Approximately half of the French population, or between 30 and 35 million people, are sensitive to sustainable tourism, showing a preference for eco-friendly travel options. The demand is not only driven by individual awareness but also by a desire to preserve the environment, support local economies, and respect the cultural integrity of travel destinations. In 2021, France welcomed between 45 and 50 million international tourists, highlighting the necessity to manage tourism sustainably to mitigate the impacts of overtourism.

Despite a growing interest in eco-conscious travel, there are challenges that curtail the acceleration of sustainable tourism. Economic factors play a significant role, with over half of travelers concerned about the costs associated with sustainable travel options, which are perceived to be more expensive. The rising inflation rates, which have hovered around 4% in recent years, further exacerbate concerns about affording sustainable tourism. Moreover, supply-side limitations pose another critical obstacle. Around 24% of French tourists claim that insufficient information and visibility of sustainable tourism offerings limit their ability to opt for greener travel choices. The lack of comprehensive and readily accessible sustainable travel options and organizations complicates the decision-making process for travelers seeking to lessen their impact on the environment.

Despite these challenges, the French government and numerous non-profit organizations are championing the shift towards sustainable tourism. Through the establishment of funds like the Sustainable Tourism Fund and commitments to national plans, the public sector is investing in the transformation of France into a sustainable tourism hotspot.

Drivers of Sustainable Travel: Key Players Championing Eco-Conscious Journeys

As the world gravitates towards more environmentally friendly and sustainable practices, the tourism sector is no exception. Several pioneering companies and organizations are steering the shift towards conscientious travel, creating memorable experiences that leave a light footprint on our planet. Each player, from boutique agencies to global associations, contributes uniquely to the tapestry of sustainable tourism.

Boutique and Specialized Travel Agencies

Fueling the demand for eco-responsible travel are specialty travel agencies that have emerged as fervent promoters of sustainable tourism.

  • Voyageurs du Monde offers environmentally conscious travel packages, tailoring experiences that are sustainable yet luxurious.
  • Other agencies like Akaoka and Atalante focus on adventure and exploration, ensuring that their treks and tours respect the delicate balance of nature and local cultures.
  • Culturescontact and Men and mountains approach sustainable tourism with a holistic perspective, integrating cultural sensitivity with nature conservation in their offerings.
  • Meanwhile, Chamina voyages pioneers in slow travel, encouraging travelers to embrace the journey as much as the destination.
  • Agencies such as Saiga and Vision du monde put emphasis on genuine encounters with local communities, fostering a sense of global solidarity and ethical tourism.


Emerging Tour Operators with a Vision

The tour operator segment is marked by a commitment to curate eco-friendly travel itineraries.

  • Amatera and Double Sens - Voyage et Partage stand out for designing trips which serve a dual purpose: delighting travelers and benefiting local economies.
  • Grand Angle points its compass towards nature excursions that celebrate bio-diversity without compromising it.
  • Les ateliers du voyage and Les Maisons du Voyage are lauded for crafting cultural experiences that are as enriching as they are mindful of local heritage and practices.
  • Voyages d'exception does justice to its name by handpicking destinations and experiences that are unique in flavor but unified in their commitment to sustainability.


Associations Spearheading the Sustainable Movement

  • At the heart of the movement for a greener tourism industry are significant associations like Acteurs du Tourisme Durable and Agir pour un Tourisme Responsable (ATR). These organizations band industry players together and drive collaborative efforts to transition toward responsible tourism practices.
  • Additionally, international groups such as the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and the Association pour le Tourisme Equitable et Solidaire (ATES) work
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Market definition and scope

With 2 billion international tourists expected by 2030, the Association des Acteurs du Tourisme Durable (ATD) warns of the many changes needed for tomorrow's tourism:"the tourism industry will not be sustainable without a definite evolution in all professions".

Strictly speaking, sustainable tourism refers to "tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, by meeting the needs of visitors, professionals, the environment and host communities". But sustainable tourism also involves the individual responsibility of travellers in the behaviours they adopt and the choices they make. More generally, sustainable tourism is a generic term that encompasses other concepts referring to sustainable development: ecotourism, responsible tourism, slow tourism, ethical tourism, solidarity tourism and community tourism.

Sustainable tourism covers many types of tourist accommodation, such as :

  • tourist hotels
  • camping
  • residential leisure parks
  • tourist residences
  • vacation village
  • collective inns

But it also concerns the tourist activities on offer, such as hiking and cycling.

Finally, sustainable tourism also concerns travel agencies, tour operators and the means of transport used during the trip. The players involved are many and varied.

The tourism industry has recorded a total of 58 billion euros in revenues in 2022, a record in France. In 2021, around two-thirds of French people will take "sustainable tourism criteria into account when choosing their vacations". Beyond the necessary evolution of tourism towards sustainability, tourists also seem ready to make this transition, which augurs well for the future development of sustainable tourism . More than a constraint, sustainable tourism is an opportunity, a way for players in the tourism sector to stand out from the crowd and satisfy a relatively recent and booming demand.

1.2 The global market

In ****, the global sustainable tourism market was worth ***.* billion USD. The exchange rate at the time was *.****[***], or around ***.* billion euros when converted at the current exchange rate (***).

As explained above, tourism in general is bound to evolve towards a model that respects the three dimensions of sustainable development. The sustainable ...

1.3 The French market: a relatively new market with great potential

According to a barometer published by Flower Campings & MadeInVote in ****, **% of French people say they take the sustainable dimension of their vacations into account. In ****, the tourism market (***) was worth **.* billion euros, or *% of France's GDP[***].

Estimates suggest that sustainable tourism represented *% of the tourism market in **** [***]. The size of the ...

1.4 The threat of overtourism

With its rich historical, cultural and natural heritage, France will be the world's leading tourist destination in ****.

Ranking of countries receiving the most international tourists World, ****, in millions Source: ****

far ahead of its competitors, France welcomed ** million international tourists in ****. Given the small size of France (***), this high level of tourism ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Early awareness of the need for sustainable tourism

For the past ten years or so, the French seem to have been aware of their responsibility towards the environment and local populations during their travels.

Responses to the question "Are you very, rather, rather not or not at all attentive, when you go on a trip, to respecting the environment ...

2.2 Demand limited by higher overall costs and limited supply

At present, the generalized model is classic tourism, i.e. tourism with little regard for sustainable development issues, and it can be more expensive to opt for sustainable tourism. Price is therefore an obstacle for many tourists. For example, **% of travelers think that more sustainable travel options are too expensive, a ...

2.3 Demand focused on preserving the environment

Although sustainable tourism is not exclusively about preserving the environment, it is the primary interest that the French see in it:

Answers to the question: "For you, sustainable vacations are a way of:" France, ****, in % Source: ****

The environmental pillar is therefore the most important for respondents when it comes to sustainable ...

2.4 Characteristics of demand for sustainable tourism

It is possible to distinguish profiles that are more sensitive to sustainable tourism than others. First of all, in ****, **% of French people were sensitive to sustainable tourism, i.e. **.* million people. The main characteristics of this category are as follows:

**% live in households without children; **% are over **, which seems paradoxical ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Multiple, protean players: tourism industry organizations

Sustainable tourism is a market driven by many different players, as mentioned in the introduction. These include travel agencies, tour operators, hotels, campsites , etc. The main players , however, remain travel agencies and tour operators, which we present as follows:

Travel agencies

Many travel agencies have embraced the principle of sustainable tourism, ...

3.2 Associations and the public sector

The associations

Numerous associations are committed to making the transition from the current tourism model to sustainable tourism. Among the most important are

Acteurs du Tourisme Durable Agir pour un Tourisme Responsable Global Sustainable Tourism Council Association pour le Tourisme Equitable et Solidaire (***)

These are the most generalist associations, aiming to ...

3.3 Sustainable tourism value chain

Finally, there are investors , whose decisions naturally influence the dynamics of all markets, local players such as town halls and tourist offices, and of course tourists. The following diagram illustrates the relationships between the players in this market:

The arrows describe the influence and commercial relationships between the various players. Their ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 Sustainable tourism typology

Climate Consulting by Selectra] distinguishes four forms of sustainable tourism:

responsible tourism, "minimizing the impact of travel on the environment and local culture"; and ethical tourism, which "includes a range of tourism activities based on fair trade principles"; slow tourism, "taking the time to discover travel destinations at your own pace, ...

4.2 Modalities of the sustainable tourism offer

As the players in sustainable tourism are many and varied, so are the services they offer. Indeed, tourism is an industry encompassing many fields. The same applies to sustainable tourism. To begin with, it is possible to distinguish the concrete practices and gestures proposed within the framework of sustainable tourism [***]:

having ...

4.3 Examples of travel packages

The following table lists sustainable travel offers and their prices, to give you an idea of the budget involved:

Inflation is not sparing the tourism sector in general. The travel sector is said to have seen a **% rise in prices since ****. Another trend in the tourism market concerns the duration of ...

5 Regulations

5.1 General regulations

There is a World Charter for Sustainable Tourism. This was created at the World Conference on Sustainable Tourism in Lanzarote (***), drawn up in **** by the European Federation of Protected Areas. The latter has three objectives:

Toincrease interest in and support for protected areas as a fundamental part of our heritage, to ...

5.2 Labels

In order to guarantee the commitments of the various players involved, associations are setting up labels. These also serve to guide tourists as they plan their vacations.

One such label is ATR (***). It is based on three pillars: transparency, partnership and consistency, broken down into ** criteria. It is aimed at all ...

6 Positioning the players

6.1 Segmentation

  • Voyageurs du Monde Groupe
  • ATR (Agir pour un Tourisme Responsable)
  • ATES (Association pour le Tourisme Equitable et Solidaire)
  • Chamina Voyages
  • Double Sens
  • Atalante
  • Grand Angle
  • L'Arbre à voyages
  • Evaneos

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Trends in the size of the global sustainable tourism market
  • International tourism receipts: percentage of 2019 levels recovered in the first quarter of 2023
  • Change in the proportion of travelers intending to stay in sustainable accommodation at least once in the coming year
  • Growth in the size of the sustainable tourism market (prospective)
  • Answers to the question "Are you very, rather, rather not or not at all careful, when you go on a trip, to respect the environment and the lives of local people?"
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Latest news

Travel: Evaneos hopes to become the hub of sustainable tourism - 12/10/2023
  • Evaneos was founded in 2009.
  • The company connects its customers with 600 partner agencies.
  • Evaneos charges a commission of just under 15% on sales.
  • By 2023, the company expects to have recorded sales in excess of 200 million euros.
  • Since 2019, travel to Mozambique has doubled, as have the Baltic countries and Nicaragua.
  • Evaneos is already present outside France in Spain, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, and plans to accelerate its development in these markets.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Voyageurs du Monde Groupe
ATR (Agir pour un Tourisme Responsable)
ATES (Association pour le Tourisme Equitable et Solidaire)
Chamina Voyages
Double Sens
Grand Angle
L'Arbre à voyages

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