Innovation for propagation
At a time when every service has an application on smartphones, this new guy is a pioneer in the field of language tourism: Immersion France. The application is available for download since January 25th 2016. It has been designed by Campus France on demand of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and puts in relation the offer and demand in language stays. It currently offers over 400 tailor-made stays identified by Atout France, the public operator for the promotion of tourism.
Though 63% of people registered in language centres are below 24 years old, the application is open to any audience: pupils, students, professionals looking for training, individual visitors, etc. Even those who need to learn French language for a tourist trip are welcome!
A dive in French culture
"We have drawn inspiration from travel websites and online booking pages to create a user-friendly, simple and easy-to-use interface", says Stéphane Felut-Paris, director of information systems at Campus France.
Mission complete. The user starts browsing by using an interactive map of France: in order to choose his/her destination, he/she may watch videos directed by TV5 Monde presenting the tourist assets of each region. The search may then be narrowed through various filters: duration of the stay, level of language, type of activity, etc. The name of Immersion France is more than appropriate: the cultural approach is comprehensive. For instance, wine lovers have the opportunity to learn French by exploring the basics of oenology in the region of Bordeaux. Art lovers may choose to improve their level of French language during a festival or workshop.
When the application was launched in the Quai d'Orsay, the students who were present were enthusiastic. "What I like about Immersion France is that it provides an overview of offers of language stays in France," says Alexandra Heal, 21 years old British student who came in France to study Science Politiques in Paris. "My Erasmus year is almost over, but I would like to improve my French. For my next stay, I will choose something funnier, such as an art activity. "
A niche full of resources
Linguistic tourism is a field with strong momentum generating 2,600 jobs in France and 115 million Euros in turnover. With the increase of travels carried out by a single individual throughout his/her life, this field is one of the high-stakes of the future. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs made it one of its top priorities: Laurent Fabius defined a 100 million Euros budget to promote linguistic tourism. During the speech he gave when Immersion France was launched, the Secretary of State Matthias Fekl stressed how the application, which followed this strategy, could fill a demand: "embassies want a wide directory of linguistic stays and cultural activities available in France for their country, students and audience".
Immersion France should be available in English and Spanish soon and should be replicated in other countries. The United States are already interested in purchasing the rights for the creation of an "Immersion USA". Campus France will be in charge of the communication strategy targeted internationally. "We already have 250 Campus France offices in 120 countries" says General Director Béatrice Khaiat, "but we know that the best way to broadcast is through mouth-to-ear. If we manage to convince our alumni, Immersion France has good chances to become popular! "