Sports Diplomacy

Sport plays a major role in attracting visitors to France and showcasing the country’s international outreach. Over the next two years, France will stage many international championships, and is fully prepared to ensure that they will be a success.

Organizing high-level international sporting events in France

France has vast experience in organizing international sporting events. Last July, UEFA Euro 2016 attracted to France over 1.5 million visitors from around the world. All State services, including the Ministry and its operator Atout France, worked hard to make the event a success.

France set priorities for these important events

- Ensure the highest organizational standards

Having hosted numerous international championships, the French State and its collectivities have adapted to the changing needs of the tournaments, sportspeople, fans, and domestic and international events so that visitors can fully enjoy their time. New infrastructure is being built, and some is being renovated, including stadiums and transport. Measures are also being taken to reflect the current situation, e.g. France has increased the security of international events (over 90,000 police and private security officers for Euro 2016).

"Nobody, and especially not terrorists, will prevent us from living our normal lives and continuing to celebrate the values of sports: fraternity and sharing.”
said Bernard Cazeneuve, French Interior Minister.

- Create events which can be enjoyed by everyone, everywhere

Sporting events are being organized in several French cities, and huge communications campaigns have been launched. New fans are garnered through public events, ambassador competitions, promotional tours by organizing committees, etc.

- Use these events to boost French growth and attractiveness

Sporting competitions are major international events in terms of France’s attractiveness and outreach. They generate large tourist flows and attract new customers to the tournaments’ host cities.

For UEFA Euro 2016, for example, France launched the “Welcome to…” campaign in order to offer a high-quality welcome and show hospitality. Everyone, from the French State to its collectivities to sports, catering and tourism professionals, was fully mobilized to welcome both the events and the visitors with open arms, providing them with a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Sports also provide an exceptional window to display French innovation and expertise in a wide range of sectors (public services, transport, environment, construction, sport, digital technology, tourism, health). These competitions are a great advertisement for the diversity of France’s territories, as the matches are held in several cities around France.

- Promote the values of sports


- The tournament generated 1.22 billion euros of economic activity: 596 million euros generated by the event organizers, 625.8 million through tourism.
- 117,150 months of work were carried out throughout the year, i.e. 9,762 full-time equivalents
- During the month-long tournament, France welcomed 613,000 foreign fans, who stayed eight days on average, spending an average of 154 euros per day
- This led to extra net tax revenue for the State of about 75 million euros, including 70 million euros in VAT revenue.

Upcoming events

In the coming years, France will host many international competitions:


- Ice Hockey World Championship, 5-21 May 2017, in Paris and Cologne (Germany)
- World Surfing Games, 20-28 May 2017 in Biarritz, Anglet and Bidart
- Wrestling World Championships, 21-26 August 2017, Paris
- Canoe Slalom World Championships, 23 September - 1 October 2017, Pau


- Ryder Cup, 28-30 September 2018, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines
- European Women’s Handball Championship, 30 November - 16 December 2018, in five French cities
- Gay Games, 4-12 August 2018, Île-de-France (Paris region)


- FIFA Women’s World Cup, June 2019, in nine French cities

Updated: April 2017

Dernière modification : 29/06/2017

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