2024 Honored Country – France
2024 International Salute To France
In 2024 Memphis in May International Festival in partnership with the Greater Memphis Chamber is excited to salute France.
The Chamber chose France, which was last saluted by the festival in 1990, because of its historic, ongoing and potential future contributions to the Greater Memphis economy. According to data compiled by the Chamber’s Greater Memphis Economic Development Research Group, there are 69 France-based companies that employ 10,452 people in Tennessee, including 10 companies employing 1,475 people in Shelby County. Among those 10 companies, there are globally recognized brands like Vantiva (formerly Technicolor), manufacturer Pandrol, and global auto logistics leader Ceva Logistics.
France is also a crucial trade partner to Memphis and Tennessee. Tennessee imports more than $1 billion in products from France each year (up 83% from 2017-2022), the state exports nearly $500M per year to France (up 17.5% from 2017-2022).
“France is a global economic powerhouse with deep ties to Memphis, which made the country the perfect fit to receive this prestigious salute at the 2024 Memphis in May International Festival,” said Ted Townsend, president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber. “We look forward to honoring France, telling the story of Memphis, and celebrating our mutual economic opportunities over the next year.”
France represents the 7th largest economy in the world, with a $2 trillion gross domestic product in 2022. As France looks to grow internationally, Memphis presents a unique opportunity as a global logistics leader, one of the fastest-growing manufacturing industries in the U.S., and the U.S. market with the highest concentration of diverse talent in industries like tech, logistics, and manufacturing. Additionally, Memphis is centrally located in the U.S. and is regularly recognized as one of the nation’s most affordable cities.
Greater Memphis Chamber leading International Programming
Building on a partnership spanning nearly 50 years, the Greater Memphis Chamber will lead all international, economic development, and diplomatic activities for Memphis in May International Festival, including the annual selection of an honored country.
The Memphis in May Board of Directors unanimously voted in August 2023 to accept a proposal from Chamber President & CEO Ted Townsend and give the region’s lead economic development organization the authority to coordinate the international affairs of the festival. Memphis in May has saluted a country each year since 1977, when it chose to honor Japan.